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Noh Masks: Okina

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Kongo School, Japanese
Noh Masks: Okina, 1930's
Ink on Paper
11 5/8 in. x 9 3/8 in. (29.53 cm x 23.81 cm)


Object Type: Print
Technique: Photolithography
Period: Showa (Japan, 1926-1989)
Credit Line: Gift of Herbert and Katherine Hoskins
Accession Number: 2004.2.5


Commentary
Okina is traditionally performed at New Years or at the beginning of a theatrical season, and depicts the transformation of an old man into a Shinto deity. Unlike other noh plays, Okina has no plot, and the monologue is composed of ancient words and phrases that are no longer understood. The dance steps are considered auspicious, and the actor prepares for the performance by several days of ritual purification.

Marks
No marks.

Medium
Black and white print made from a photograph, on white paper.

Object Description
Photolithograph in black and white of a noh mask.

The Okina mask is very distinctive. With a long white beard and two tufted eyebrows, the mask portrays the wisdom of an aged old man. Unlike other Noh masks, the Okina mask has a moveable lower jaw, which is carved on a separate piece of wood and then later attached by strings.

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