19TH C. JAPANESE "TENGU" NOH THEATER MASK
Period/Date: 19th century
Materials: Wood, plaster, lacquer, sheet brass (around the eyes)
Dimensions: Height 8.5" (21.5 cm), Width 7.25" (18.5 cm), Depth from back to nose 10" (21.5 cm)
Description: Here is a particularly fierce "Yamabushi Tengu" long nose goblin mask. This is an old mask having been repainted and or lacquered with bold red several times in its history. The depth of the mask to its projecting nose measures and impressive 10 inches! It is in terrific condition except for a few minor chips to the back edges where the wood is exposed. The mask does not have a display stand but hangs nicely on the wall with its attached cord.
In the Japanese language Tengu literally translates as "heaven dog." It is thought that these mythical creatures may have initially received their name in association with a large meteor which struck China sometime during the 6th century BC. The Chinese attributed this destructive event to creatures they called Tien Kou or celestial hounds, as the fiery trail the meteor traced across the sky was said to resemble the tail of a dog. The heaven dog legend appears to have arrived in Japan along with Buddhism sometime during the 6th or 7th century AD.
Japanese mythology holds that Tengu, which are more mischievous than evil (and don't really look much like a dog), reside in clans within the country's mountainous interior. Tengu are said to possess supernatural powers which they may use to harass and torment any humans who they perceive as vain, boisterous or who appear to corrupt the Dharma (Buddhist law). Please read below to learn about the legend and myth of Tengu in Japan