Ama 案摩
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
A dance piece in *bugaku 舞楽, as well as the mask *bugakumen 舞楽面, used in that dance. The Ama mask is made of paper *zoumen 蔵面, and worn for the dance that usually begins a program. Ama probably derives from ancient ground-breaking ceremonies of India. It is a quiet dance hiramai 平舞 of the Left sa-no-mai 左舞, said to have been brought from China tougaku 唐楽 by the monk Buttetsu 仏徹 in 736 and recomposed during the 9c at the Heian Court. The dance is paired with *Ni-no-mai 二ノ舞, a dance of the Left, and together they can be understood to represent the cosmos; "ama" can mean "heaven," while the dark, grotesque Ni-no-mai masks evoke the spirits of the earth. Unlike most wooden bugaku masks, the Ama mask is a rectangular sheet of white paper (or cloth) with triangular holes for eyes and a patternized beard, eyebrows, nose, and cheeks painted in black. The oldest extant Ama masks date from the Edo period, but 8c cloth masks for *gigaku 伎楽 preserved in the *Shousouin 正倉院 Repository of Toudaiji 東大寺 in Nara give a good idea of early tradition.

*Soriko 蘇利古, *Kotokuraku 胡徳楽 

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