East Asia

What makes a mask desireable?

Japanese Noh mask
Japanese Noh mask

Q: I keep finding slightly damaged Japanese masks on the market. Do the Japanese grade things differently than the US does? This seems to confirm it. The Japanese seller considers this mask to be “fair.” Interesting to see such different grades of quality being applied.  Nate, 563

A: A lot of Western collectors are obsessed with authenticity. Many Americans want masks that are old and used. Other cultures put more emphasis on quality. I tend to be unlike some of my American brothers and prefer collectibles that display great workmanship and creativity. The Japanese are even more hung up on quality. Their desire is sometimes absolute perfection, but in other instances it’s the blessed accident.

The above mask was carved and painted by a craftsman of lesser skills. You are welcome to share your opinion.

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