East Asia

Japan’s most popular mask


Q:  I have a Hannya mask that was given to me by my mother years ago.  I am not sure as to its authenticity or age.  It looks like one of the nicer masks I have seen and I believe it is made of wood.  I am guessing it is a reproduction but really have no idea.  Any information would be appreciated.  Thanks.  Tom, 706

A:  The mask of Noh theater character “Hannya” is collected and reproduced a great deal, probably more than any other. These masks can be made out of carved wood, papier mache, various molded materials including clay, metal, putty, etc. I don’t think yours is wood, but you can easily check with a sharp knife on the rear. Yours is quite handsome but not particularly well made by Japanese standards. It was made for the wall, not for wearing in a play. They have been making decorative masks for a very long time and some of them are beautiful and quite collectible.  C+



  • william

    I have an authentic rosewood hannya mask. It is very rich in detail. I want to sell it. But, no antique dealers or collectors will buy it without a certificate of authenticity. Do you know anyone who can help?

    • Bob Ibold

      Well-made Hannya masks are very popular. You should be able to sell it on eBay if you take some good photos and list it correctly.

  • Will Leung

    To whom it may concern,

    We are looking to purchase a collection of Japanese masks as decorative art for a Japanese restaurant.
    Please can you provide us with more details/costs.


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