Posted by: softypapa | February 5, 2008

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa

Antique Japan Okame Mask Wood Otafuku Uzume Kazarimen Japanese Tokaido Softypapa 

Description

Antique wooden Japanese Okame mask.  Okame, also known as Uzume or Otafuku is the name for the female half* of a traditional Japanese Kyogen theatre pair (see below to learn more about Kyogen).  She is considered to be the goddess of mirth and is frequently seen in Japanese art.  Her full cheeks and merry eyes are an unforgettable sight and a delight to behold.  Some Japanese scholars theorize that long ago, when the first Okame masks were created, they may have represented an idealized form of feminine beauty.  Styles and tastes are subject to change, and the ancient Japanese might be surprised to learn that the name Okame is today sometimes used as a less-than-appreciated joking taunt by Japanese husbands and boyfriends who haven’t yet learned better.  In contrast, a famous and contemporary Japanese Kyogen actor once commented that the countenance of Okame is what every man hopes his bride will look like on his wedding night…

About the Listed Item

Large and heavy solid wood Japanese Okame display mask (kazarimen).  This mask dates from the mid Showa period (1926-1989) and is in good condition with no large chips or cracks.  The mask does have marks and scratches from handling and wears a darkened patina of age.  This beautiful artifact of Japanese culture was acquired in historic Shizuoka, Japan near the foot of Mt. Fuji.  Please click here to see other Okame items for sale in our eBay store The Old Tokaido.

Size:
Height: 9.2 inches (23.5 centimeters)
Width (across widest point): 6.8 inches (17.5 centimeters)
Weight: 1.8 ounces (828 grams)

Click here to see additional masks!
Click
here to see other Okame items!
Click
here to see more treasures from Japan!

More about Japanese Noh and Kyogen theatre

Noh (pronounced “no”) theatre is one of the classical Japanese forms of stage performance.  Noh and its more light hearted and humorous sister art Kyogen are often performed together in traditional theater houses within large Japanese cities.  In the past, formal Noh/Kyogen performances would last all day with several heavy and serious Noh dramas of different genres being performed with periodic Kyogen performances between these to give the audience a break and a chance to laugh.  Noh actors are always male (even the ones dressed as women), and normally share the stage with an orchestra of traditional Japanese musicians as well as a choir.  The actors recite their lines in old Japanese style (most Japanese can’t understand them and must follow the story with a written script) sung with trailing syllables oscillating with flowing emphasis.  Noh and Kyogen actors often wear masks to help them better portray the character they are playing or to lend emphasis to key points of their performance.  With the exception of demon masks (which are very expressive) most Noh/Kyogen masks are neutral in expression, requiring the actor to indicate emotion exclusively through subtle body movements.  The craft of making Noh and Kyogen masks is an important Japanese art form in itself and many masks (particularly the dramatic demon and god masks) are collected by Japanese and foreign enthusiasts of Japanese culture.

* Okame’s male companion is “Usobuki.”

item code: R1S3-0003851
ship code: G6

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