Friday, June 26, 2015

Shrine masks


While walking along the Shimane coast in the spring I stopped in at as many shrines as I could. One of the things I seek out at shrines are masks. many shrines will have masks on display in the main hall  to ward off evil or to attract good fortune. Sometimes they will be regular kagura masks vworn by dancers, but sometimes they will be large and non-functional as masks. This first one was an older, wooden demon mask at Kakihime Shrine in Kushiro near Masuda.


Not far away at the Hachimangu in Tsuda there were a lot of masks on display, the most intriguing being this large demon mask, also wooden and old.


Masks will often come in pairs, the left one is certainly a Karasu Tengu, which would usually be paired with a long-nosed Tengu, but I am not sure if that is what the right hand mask is.


There was also a pair of Tengu in the normal coloring and style.....


And there was a Shoki mask. Shoki, a daoist demon-queller is conflated with Susano in Japan and the two masks are often interchangeble.

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