A small vintage, (circa1950), decorative wooden Mask from Japan. Given their small size, I refer to these as "Decorative Netsuke", although they are not true-netsuke. Carved in a high quality, aged, renown yew wood, overlaid with a traditional shellac.Appears to be Yew wood, done in a traditional Ichii-itto-bori Technique to highlight the rich grains. Ichii-itto-bori carving is a woodcraft technique that involves carving yew wood using only chisels, and was developed by a netsuke master, Matsuda Sukenaga.
Matsuda was from the Hida region of Japan. Ichii-itto carving is characterized by a fine grain, due to the growth rings of the yew tree which are very fine.The wood is left uncolored in order to highlight this grain; Ichii-itto carving was designated a traditional craft in Japan in 1975. Ca1950-60 given the fine carving and attention to details, and general appearance of the aged shellac. Exceptional details, and attention to detail. While this piece was always intended to be decorative, it was carved by a master carver and is a very fine example of these and to that end, an increasingly a rare find. The character depicted is Okame... Often depicted with a cat.
Okame; also known as Uzume or Otafuku is the name for the female counterpart of a traditional Japanese Kyogen theater pair. She is considered to be the goddess of mirth and is frequently seen in Japanese art. Her full cheeks and merry eyes are an unforgettable sight and a delight to behold. Some Japanese scholars theorize that long ago, when the first Okame masks were created, they may have represented an idealized form of feminine beauty.
Styles and tastes are subject to change, and the ancient Japanese might be surprised to learn that the name Okame is today sometimes used as a less-than-appreciated joking taunt by Japanese husbands. In contrast, a famous and contemporary Japanese Kyogen actor once commented that the countenance of Okame is what every man hopes his bride will look like on his wedding night. Some of my masks from my collection are posted.
Check out my other items. The item "Fine-Quality, Ichii-itto-bori, Japanese Okame Wooden/Wood Mask 3x4" is in sale since Wednesday, June 21, 2017. This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian Antiques\Japan\Masks".
The seller is "cosmic_goods" and is located in Freeport, Maine. This item can be shipped worldwide.