Saisourou 採桑老
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
A *bugaku 舞楽 dance and mask *bugakumen 舞楽面 representing an old man. Classification : a quiet dance hiramai 平舞 of the Left sa-no-mai 左舞 originating in China tougaku 唐楽 performed by one person holding a long knobbly stick and dressed in flowing white robes. The only bugaku piece featuring an old man, the performance includes the recitation of a poem detailing the downward path towards old age and death. The somber implications are in contrast to other old men's dances such as the gigaku 伎楽 piece using the mask *Taiko 太孤 and the piece *okina 翁 intended to be celebratory. Saisourou masks fall into two styles. The earlier ones lack wrinkles and have a whiter finish, such as the representative but damaged example at Tamukeyama Jinja 手向山神社 (probably from the 11c) in Nra. Later ones, following the style of the Saisourou at Itsukushima Jinja 厳島神社 (dated 1249) in Hiroshima prefecture, show a wrinkled face with rotting teeth, sober eyes and a thin, pinched nose. Both types of masks incorporate rotating eyes *dougan 動眼 and a detached chin *kiriago 切顎. Illustrations of the dance appear in the 12c sketches of old pieces Shinzei kogaku-zu 信西古楽図 (Tokyo University of Fine Arts), and painted on screens by Tawaraya Soutatsu 俵屋宗達 (?-ca.1640; Daigoji 醍醐寺, Kyoto). See *bugaku-zu 舞楽図.


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