Showing posts with label mask. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mask. Show all posts

Monday, August 10, 2020

Kosenji Temple number 42 on the Kyushu Pilgrimage

Hachimanyama Kosenji Temple is at the eastern end of the Ebino Valley in the higjlands around the Kirishima Montains in Miyazaki. It is number 42 on the 108 Shingon temple pilgrimage on Kyushu.

It is a fairly modern temple founded in the early Taisho era, so is about 100 years old. I'm no expert, but it seems that the Gingko trees were a little older than that.

It has an unusual hnzon, a statue of Dainchi riding a cow, though I didn't get to see it. Also unusual for the Kyushu pilgrimage is an actual Daishi-do.

There was quite a bit of interesting statuary which I will post on later, and also one building had quite a few masks on display, severa; of which were from the Iwami Kagura tradition.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Tengu Masks in the Kirishima Mask Museum

Kirishima Mask Museum

The mask museum in Kirishima was called "Tengu-kan", and obviously there were a lot of masks of tengu on display. Most of which were the red-faced long nose variety.

Probably the earlier version of Tengu was more birdlike in appearance, like the one in the top center of the photo below. The long nosed version is probably derived from Sarutahiko, the earthy kami who helped lead Ninigi and his entourage from the High Plain of Heaven. he later married Uzume and a mask of Sarutahiko and Uzume are often found together at shrines, often linked to fertility.

Tengu are often connected to Yamabushi, the mysterious mountain monks who practised austerities and magic in the remote sacred mountains. A distinguishing feature is the tokin, the small black headgear worn on the top of the forehead. It is said this was to protect the head while walking through the forest. It was also used as a drinking vessel.

The museum is located near the entrance to Kirishima Jingu Shrine up in the mountains of northern Kagoshima and if you are visiting the area and like masks then is a must see.

Buy Handmade Masks From Japan

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Kirishima Mask Museum

Being a mask maker myself, I have a great interest in masks and am always on the lookout for them on my walks. Ive visited a few small mask museums, ut the absolute best was in Kirishima.

Located close to the entrance to Kirishima Jingu Shrine up in the mountains of Kagoshima, it called itself Kirishima Tengu-kan, and there were plenty of tengu masks on display, but there were also hundreds and hundreds of other masks from all over Japan.

There were Noh masks, Kagura masks, new masks, old masks, and I even found some examples of my local Iwami Kagura masks. Apparently, it was the private collection of a local man.

Most of the masks were Japanese, but there were also collections from Africa and Asia. A delightful surprise and not a well known place, well worth stopping by if you are in the area.

Buy Handmade Masks From Japan

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Uzume Mask

Uzume Mask

It has been a very long time since I finished any masks, but the last few weeks I have been hard at it. Most of my older blog posts that featured my masks no longer have photos as they were stored on a site I no longer use, so overthe next weeks I will be posting photos of my new masks.

This one is one of the smallest and is the kami Uzume, the female whose dance in front of the cave was instrumental in luring Amaterasu out. The dance is credited with being the mythological origin of kagura.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Masks at Nobusatohachimangu Shrine

The Masks at Nobusatohachimangu Shrine

Towards the end of my second day walking the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage I was coming into the outskirts of Oda City and stopped in at the Hachimangu Shrine in Nobusato village.

One thing I am always on the lookout for at shrines are masks, and, like many village shrines in rural Japan, this one was not locked so I could go in and look around and found quite a few masks. The mask in the first photo was nice, but not unusual. The second was an unusual style that I had seen several times in the past few days and is specific to this area.

The next one was a standard Tengu mask done in Iwami kagura style, almost exactly like ones I myself have made, but the next one was back to the local style and is, I believe, a karasu tengu.

The final pair were in standar Iwami kagura style and were the old married couple, the mother and father of Kushinada Hime, the maiden rescued from the serpent Yamata Orochi by Susano.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

More Shrine Masks


Continuing with some photos of masks I found in shrines while walking along the Iwami coast this past spring. In a small shrine in a remote fishing cove near Orii were this pair of Ebisu and Daikoku, 2 of the 7 Lucky Gods, and often paired together.


At the Kasuga Shrine in Sufu was this pairing of, I think, Shoki and Oni. These are much older, wooden masks.


At the Itsukushima Shrine in Matsubara another Ebisu-Daikoku pair. They look as if they may have been made out of plaster. I have a small pair made out of plaster at home.


At Ikan Shrine in Shimokou, a demon mask with some variations that I hadnt seen before leading me to believe it is from a mask maker I have not encountered before. The use of curved fangs is unusual and something I had been thinking of incorporating into my own masks.


Finally, at the Hekireki Shrine next to the site of the former Kokubunji, yet another Ebisu- Daikoku pair

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.

Monday, April 6, 2015

More Mitarai


Mitarai, a small port on Osaki Shimozima Island in the Inland Sea is a truly delightful step back in time. Much of the small town is an Historic Preservation District containing Edo period buildings and narrow lanes. Hopefully the character of the town will not be lost now that it is possible to reach it easily by car from the mainland. I will post some more on specific location sites in the town but for now a few more general shots.


This gentleman used to be a boatbuilder but now his boats are miniature replicas.


There are quite a few of these districts throughout Japan that are still far enough off the main tourist routes that they can be enjoyed quietly.


The product that brought prosperity to the port was sex. More on that later.


A small shop had this pair of masks on display, though they appear to me to be Namahage, which are not local but from the north of Japan.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Takada Hachimangu


Being a mask maker myself, one of the things I am always hoping to find in my explorations of shrines are masks, so I was absolutely delighted to discover these masks in Takada Hachimangu.


Located in a small mountain settlement at the base of Mount Sanbe, the highest mountains in Iwami, the hachimangu is a fairly standard village shrine.


About a hundred years ago the government closed down half the shrines in the country, so probably there were more shrines in this village that had their kami moved here, but there was no sign so I was unable to find out. As a Hachimangu it enshrines primarily Hachiman.


Like many shrines in remote areas it was not locked so I was able to look inside.


The masks were a revelation because they were in a style I am not familiar with. Though in Iwami they are not in Iwami kagura style. As I explored more shrines later in the day I found many more examples of this style.


Monday, February 23, 2015

A couple of new masks


Just finished another couple of masks, and rather being something new they are copies of earlier ones that had been ordered. Whereas most kagura masks are made out of wood, for the past hundred years in the Iwami region they have been made out of the local paper, sekishu washi, a UNESCO listed material.


Based on the hanya mask, though with some of my own variations, they remain the most popular of my masks.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Kibune Shrine, Bungokawachi


The Kibune shrine in Bungokawachi on the western side of the Kunisaki Peninsula is one of about 500 branch shrines of the Kifune Shrine just north of Kyoto. Curiously another 2 Kibune shrines are within a kilometer of this one.


Inside the main building was a fine red Oni mask, a pair of nice wooden zuijin, and a wonderful ceiling of paintings, many of which seemed quite recent.


The main kami of Kibune shrines are Takaokami and Kuraokami, formed from the blood of Izanagis sword after he slew the kami of fire that burned Izanami to death. They are both associated with water.


There is a small Inari shrine to the rear.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sarutahiko Mask


Winter is the time I finally get to finish some of the masks I have been working on. This one is Sarutahiko.

According to the National Myths he was an Earth kami who guided Ninigi and his party, including Uzume who Sarutahiko later married, on their descent to Japan.


Sarutahiko masks are very common at shrines as he is most commonly known as a phallic kami, related to Dosojin, the phallic stones found at village borders and crossroads. His mask is often paired with Uzume/Otafuku.


Sarutahiko masks and Tengu masks are often conflated, and in Iwami the same mask is often used to represent both. usually though a tengu mask will be wearing a "tokin", a small hat-like box worn on the head of yamabushi.