Noh Doubt About It, These Masks Have Value

Japanese Noh Masks

(Ivory Model Of a Noh Mask Sold by Woolley & Wallisy for £300)

I have a theory about the way masks and such are viewed by the Western World, that they are misunderstood or feared. I mean some seem to think that it is a strange activity to attend an archaic theater form such as Noh, but they’re OK with it happening somewhere distantly.

But hang one of these masks on the walls of your house, and all bets are off as to whether or not some of your friends might think you’re a bit off your rocker.

But Who Doesn’t Wear a Mask Somewhere, Sometimes…?

(Noh Mask of Tsurimanako Sold by Christies for $5,040.00)

Noh Theater and the masks the actors wear perfectly reflect our own natural tendency to shade and hide our feelings and intentions when in certain situations. I mean, is it your inner pure face shining through when you are deep in some business negotiation, or when you’re out on the town…?

I don’t think so. What I think is that these masks represent various archetypes of character, archetypes we readily recognize when we see them, and ones we readily employ when we need to.

Masks are our Forte or Attempts at Defense

(Noh Mask of Deigan Sold by Christies for $11,400.00)

I collect masks, I’ve never been sure why exactly, maybe because there is so much mystery contained in the head behind the face. What is being thought about behind the facade, what is being desired in that moment by the person I am talking to. How can I make them smile…

By the way what is the difference between hanging a picture on a wall and a mask…not sure there really is one…

Noh and its Masks Perfectly Reflect Safer Ways at Drama Than Acting Out

(Noh Mask of Washibana Akujo Sold by Christies for $7,200.00)

If you ever wonder what might be the counter point in the West to Masks in the East, try hanging a child’s doll on a wall. Creepy right? Every culture has a multitude of ways to fetishize “States, Feelings, Fears, and Beliefs.” Native or Eastern Cultures don’t have a lock on this – everyone does it to some extant or other.

(Okame Noh Mask Sold by Eldred’s Auction for $690.00)

Article By

Martin Codina

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2 thoughts on “Noh Doubt About It, These Masks Have Value

  1. Until today I had never heard or or seen this sort of mask. They are both very intriguing and scary at the same time. But I have the same feelings about dolls staring at me.

    Thank you for a great article.
    Toma

  2. Toma,

    Yeah the whole doll and mask thing…Dang, but still eerily beautiful…

    Thanks for your loyal readership, I hope all is well…Take Care… Martin

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