What Are Noh Masks?


Quick Answer

Noh masks are an important performance prop in the classic Japanese Noh theatre tradition. The masks are worn by most of the performers onstage and, through subtle tilts of the head, can convey a broad range of emotion.

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Full Answer

Variations of the Noh mask represent different characters of a dramatic piece. Some of these include men's masks, women's masks, demons' masks and spirits' masks. The archetypes of these masks, from 60 original types to over 200 in contemporary Noh theatre, developed over the past 800 years. The masks are carved whole from blocks of Japanese cypress and are then intricately decorated with metal and other materials.

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