East Asia

Old Kitsune mask from Japan

Carved by Horo, circa 1725
Kitsune is a mask of a fox. It has meaning in religion and folk tradition. In Japanese culture foxes have a contradictory behavior. They can be good or evil, depending on the situation. Some of the Japanese Kitsune can be used for Noh, Kyōgen, Shinto and Kagura performances. Noh is classical Japanese musical drama based on tales from traditional literature performed since the 14th century. Kyōgen is a form of traditional Japanese comic performance in the theater. It was performed as an intermission between Noh acts. Shinto is an ethnic religion in Japan, and it focuses on ritual practices. Kagura is a type of Shinto theatrical dance.

The first Kitsune is authentic, as you can tell. The second is a sideview of a different one showing you the fox’s muzzle from a better angle. Look for our mask titled “Japanese fox mask with moving jaw,” which is on this website (archived September 19, 2018). For value, both of these examples are old, used and would easily get an A. Bob, 1789

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