Male mask

Small Mingei mask made from kusunoki–camphor wood with patina. Early 16th century.
Appraiser’s number: [28]

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Historical period(s)
Muromachi period, early 16th century
Camphor (kusunoki) wood
H x W x D (overall): 16.9 x 12.2 x 5.9 cm (6 5/8 x 4 13/16 x 2 5/16 in)
Credit Line
Collected by Seymour J. Janow and Gifted in his memory by his Family
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


Japan, man, Muromachi period (1333 - 1573)

To 2003
Seymour J. Janow, Washington, DC, acquired in Japan, to 2003 [1]

From 2003
Freer Gallery of Art, given by the family of Seymour J. Janow in 2003


[1] According to Curatorial Note 1, Ann Yonemura, September 30, 2003, in the object record.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Mrs. Selma Janow


Small Mingei mask made from kusunoki--camphor wood with patina. Early 16th century.
Appraiser's number: [28]


The use of masks in dance, court ritual, processions, and religious ceremonies expanded and flourished under the patronage of the Japanese imperial court during the seventh and eighth centuries, when a wide variety of performance, dance, and musical forms reached Japan from Korea, China, Southeast and West Asia. The elaborate carved and polychromed wood masks for these performances were probably produced by the sculptors of Buddhist icons, but in later periods, mask carving became a specialized skill that was often fostered within families.

This mask has a form similar to the usobuki type used in comic kyogen dramas. In this mask, the mouth is pulled to one side and the tongue protrudes through pursed lips.

Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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