Bugaku mask of Korobase

From Japan
Edo period, 17th century AD

Used in a Bugaku dance performance

Bugaku dances were performed to Gagaku court music derived from sources in India, China, Korea and elsewhere in South-east Asia. The dances include episodes of both war and peace, certain dances performed by women or children, and more exotic pieces using animal and bird masks.

This beaked mask is used in a Bugaku performance involving four dancers wearing green costumes and identical masks. They carry gold-coloured bells in their bills, the sound of which represents the cries of the giant birds they imitate. The Korobase mask probably derives from the more awesome Karura of Gigaku court drama, which in turn derives from the Hindu bird deity, Garuda.

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Museum number

Asia JA 1999.12-19.22

not found on MERLIN

Gift of Mr. Nobutaka Oka


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