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Yamauba@ŽR‰W
KEY WORD :@art history / paintings
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Also read Yamanba. Onionna ‹S— (demonic woman) or yamaonna ŽR— (mountain woman) are used occasionally.

1@A painting subject during the Edo period, depicting a legendary mountain woman often accompanied by her child of herculean strength *Kintarou ‹à‘¾˜Y (also called Kaidoumaru ‰ö“¶ŠÛ). In folk legend, Yamauba is known as a demonic character with supernatural powers who lives deep in the mountains with monkeys and deer, raising her young son, Kintarou. A similar character appears in the Noh drama of the same name, YAMAUBA ŽR‰W. In the *nou ”\ play, the courtesan Hyakuma Yamauba •S–‚ŽR‰W traveling in the mountains of Echigo ‰zŒã and Etchuu ‰z’† (present day Niigata and Toyama prefectures) stops at the house of a local peasant woman. At midnight, she is seen dancing in her real form as a demonic woman. Chikamatsu Monzaemon ‹ß¼–卶‰q–å (1653-1724) wrote the joururi ò—Ú—ž play, KOMOCHI YAMAUBA ›aŽR‰W (1712), combining aspects of the noh and legends about the remarkably strong boy .In this play Sakata Tokiyuki â“cŽžs is forced to commit suicide, and his blood, which has the power to inspire the desire for vengeance, is presented to his wife, Yaegiri ”ªd‹Ë. She goes into the mountains, becoming Yamauba, and there raises her son, Kaidoumaru, the living memorial of her husband. Kaidoumaru, after coming to the attention of Minamoto no Yorimitsu Œ¹—ŠŒõ (? -1021), a famous warrior, grows up to become a courageous warrior himself, Sakata Kintoki â“cŒöŽž, and avenge his father.
The subject also appeared in illustrated books about ghosts, such as Hyakkiyagyou •S‹S–és (1776) in which the figure of a horrible old lady holds the boy Kintarou.
Yamauba is usually represented with long hair hanging down in dishevelled tresses, and dressed in tattered, flimsy clothing. A famous example is the votive tablet *ema ŠG”n done by Nagasawa Rosetsu ’·‘òåbá (1754-1799) at Itsukushima Jinja Œµ“‡_ŽÐ in Hiroshima prefecture. Many artists of *ukiyo-e •‚¢ŠG depicted Yamauba, not only as a character in an illustration of dramatic performance shibai-e ŽÅ‹ŠG, but often as a modern-day beauty, humoring her son. In particular, Kitagawa Utamaro Šì‘½ì‰Ì–› (1754-1806) portrayed many Yamauba in the guise of beautiful women bijin ”ül.

‚Q@A noh mask *noumen ”\–Ê used in the play YAMAUBA and representing an old woman, half demon, who roams the mountains. The enigmatic personality of Yamauba is apparent in the wide variety of masks used to represent the role. The gaunt features, wrinkled brow and pale coloring of the Houshou •ó¶ school mask, attributed to the 15c. carver Tatsuemon —´‰E‰q–å, presents a realistic portrayal of an old woman wise to suffering and very human. The ruddy, weather-beaten yamauba mask in the Mitsui ŽOˆä Art Museum and attributed to the 15c. carver Tokuwaka “¿Žá has a balance of power, wisdom and sensitivity in its strong, muscular cheeks, flashing eyes and fleshy lips. The Kanze ŠÏ¢ school mask is a more elfin version of the Mitsui mask, with lighter coloring , more delicate features, but the same open energy and slightly bared teeth. The Kongou ‹à„ school owns a mask attributed to the 15c. carver Shakuzuru Ô’ß that appears demonic with bright vermilion flesh, and close-knit eyebrows hovering over protruding round eyes, yet has abstractly rendered wrinkles lining the cheeks and forehead to suggest old age. Finally the Umewaka ”~Žá branch of the Kanze school owns a yamauba that emphasizes the demonic aspects of the role, being modeled on the serpent mask *ja ŽÖ, with a gaping, leering mouth dominating the lower half, a pointed nose, and large ears. Despite these wide variances, all the yamauba masks share having small, round metallic irises indicating demonic nature, and all but the Umewaka mask share the representation of hair and eyebrows with alternating lines of white and black, typifying an old woman.
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