ITEM 5325

Kitsune Ja Noh Theater Mask

Edo period, 18th C.
Wood, gofun and pigments
Box : Awasebako
14.5 x 10.5 x 20.5 (h) cm

Fox demon noh mask, Kitsune Ja type

Kitsune Ja is a rarely encountered model. According the respected specialist Stephen Marvin, in “Heaven has a face – so does Hell, The Art of the Noh Mask”,”…/… the guild artist Kawachi fashioned another hornless Hannya at the behest of Sakon Shigenari, tenth grand master of the Kanze troupe. Named Kitsune Ja and designated a jun-hommen, this mask is painted gold, too, and therefore closely resembles Deija. A careful comparison reveals a few minor differences, however: the former has a domed forehead with black specks dotting the scalp in place of hair, faint denjo mayu, shallow ridges undulating across the brow, red highlighting of the whites of the eyes, larger ears, and a more feral appearance. Most distinctive are the thick individually carved teeth. Also, veins snake across Deija’s temples, whereas Kitsune Ja has no veins.

Kitsune means fox, and Kitsune ja was so named because of the characters it represents; the fox demon of Sesshöseki and the fox spirit of Kokaji. Thus, this mask is worn for kishin rather than onryo roles…/…”