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The Masks and Costumes of the Noh Play Yamanba

"The Masks and Costumes of the Noh Play Yamanba"

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 9  August 9, 2016 (Tue) - October 10, 2016 (Mon)

  
Karaori (Noh costume), Paired cranes in lozenge design on brown ground (detail), Edo period, 17th century

The play entitled Yamanba, which means “mountain hag,” is often performed at the end of a formal, day-long performance of Noh plays. As recited in this play, Yamanba has “disheveled hair like the snow, glittering eyes like the stars, and a red face, grim like a demon sculpture on a roof tile.” The actor portraying her dons a mask unique to this role, a white wig, and a garment often decorated with powerful geometric patterns including diamonds and diagonal lines resembling lightning. Yamanba is thus shown as a demon, yet the elegant dance that portrays her passing across the mountains and through the four seasons is a highlight of this Noh play.

Current exhibit includes:
Noh Mask, Shakumi type, By Yamato, Edo period, 17th century
Karaori (Noh costume), Paired cranes in lozenge design on brown ground,
Edo period, 17th century