The Hannya Mask

One mask that would get your attention is the Hannya (般若) mask. It has two sharp horns and a super wicked grin split from ear to ear. The Hannya mask represents a jealous female demon and is used in traditional Noh theatre.

In Noh theatre The Hannya mask is said to be demonic and dangerous, but also sorrowful and tormented. When the actor looks straight ahead, the mask appears frightening and angry, but when tilted slightly down, the face of the demon appears to be sorrowful, as though crying.

Hannya masks appear in various skin tones: a white mask indicates a woman of aristocratic status, a red mask depicts a low-class woman, and the darkest red depicts true demons.

Did you know that pne of the oldest Hannya mask dates back to the 15th century.

When we arrived at our grandmothers house in the country side, we were greeted with this white mask at the entrance. I’m not sure of why it was displayed at the entrance, but one reason I could think of is, it is displaying the feeling of sorrow and sadness on behalf of our grandmother, who lost her husband last year due to illness.

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