East Asia

Large Japanese wall-hanging

Q:  This mask is 17″ tall. I think it’s cypress wood with a gofun finish. Thanks for any info.  Gigi, 1214

A:  One of my rules is that we post masks that could or have been used in culture, plus good quality reproductions of same. We try to avoid items made for other purposes. I broke the rule because this sculpture is so beautiful and so Japanese. It looks like a male version of Ofuku, but it does not depict a specific character from Kyogen or Noh.

Gigi:  don’t hesitate to share with our viewers the who, what, when, where and how much you paid for these pieces. Inquiring minds want to know. Just write it in the comments box.

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2 Comments

  • Gigi Williams

    Bob, I bought these from Craigslist paid $395 for both. The seller purchased them at auction years ago for $2000. I just found another mask for sale which explains that these larger masks were used as signs for the shops that made the masks used in theater. Makes sense, as mine is too large and heavy to use on stage.

    Listing for mask (photo didn’t copy)
    Antique Japanese Noh Mask Shop Sign c.1860-80
    Price: $1500.00
    Antique Japanese Noh Mask Shop Sign dating from the end of Edo Period to the beginning of the Meiji Period, c.1860-80. Huge Japanese cypress wood carved into the face of ‘Omote’ one of the beloved figures of the Noh pantheon. Age wear and some cracks and worn blotches in the gofun oyster shell paint. But still very much an impact piece. c.1860-80. (22″ x 13½”) (56cm x 34cm). EMS Shipping/Insurance to USA or Western Europe $200.

    In further researching Ofuku, I believe this mask is her. There is hair on the top and the sides and I’ve found versions that look like mine. I hope you post my other mask, which I find much more interesting with the giant eyebrows.
    Thanks for such a quick response! Gigi

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