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Noh mask, Japan, middle-end Edo period, 18th-19th century. Hinoki wood (Japanese Cypres), gesso, pigments, laquer on the back side, H 21.1 cm. YANN FERRANDIN at BRAFA 2021. Picture by Hughes Dubois, Paris-Brussels.

FUKAI, used to play a middle-aged graceful woman.

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Shrine mask, possibly Yamamba, Japan, end of Muromachi period or Azuchi-Momoyama period, circa 16th century. Carved wood, black and red pigments covering the face in two successive layers, metal, H 22 cm. YANN FERRANDIN at BRAFA 2021. Picture by Hughes Dubois, Paris-Brussels.

Provenance: former private collection.

The ancient masks used in temples and shrines during the Kamakura and Muromachi eras are today regarded as prototypes of the Noh theater masks. Their primary function was spiritual, priests (shamans) used them to banish evil spirits and bring good things like fruitful harvests.

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Shiro Hannya (White Hannya), Noh theatre mask, Umewaka family pattern, Japan, early Edo period, circa 17th century – early 18th century. Japanese cypress (hinoki), pigments, gilded metal, thin layer of laquer (back side), H 21.7 cm. YANN FERRANDIN at BRAFA 2021. Picture by Hughes Dubois, Paris-Brussels

Preserved in a nice and old Menbukuro (bag for keeping Noh masks) in fabric and silk.