A wood mask of Usobuki

A wood mask of Usobuki

A wood mask of Usobuki

Date & Origin c. 1500 to c. 1600, Japan
Dimensions
H
19 cm (7 inc)
W
15 cm (5 inc)
Description
Usobuki, also known as Hyotoko, is the male character of traditional Japanese Kyōgen and is usually paired with the female character Okame. Usobuki is often referred to as "the whistler" due to his facial expression of pursed lips.

His countenance is remarkable for its expression of forceful effort and his puffy cheeks, bulging eyes and furrowed brow have been used to portray a wide range of characters within the Kyōgen repertoire. Usobuki masks have been used to depict everything from comical human characters to the spirits of plants, fish and insects, including mosquitoes, mushrooms and even pine resin. Perhaps most remarkable of all is Usobuki's appearance as a sinner on his way to hell in a play entitled "A Sinner with References".

Kyōgen theatre (lit. wild words) is thought to stem from Sarugaku, a form of Chinese entertainment brought to Japan around the 8th century. It was a popular form of entertainment which included such elements as mime, acrobatics and magic encompassing both drama and comedy. By the 14th century, these contradictive forms of Sarugaku had become known as Noh and Kyōgen, respectively.
Medium
Wood
Stock Code 7284
P.O.A
Dimensions
H
19 cm (7 inc)
W
15 cm (5 inc)
Description
Usobuki, also known as Hyotoko, is the male character of traditional Japanese Kyōgen and is usually paired with the female character Okame. Usobuki is often referred to as "the whistler" due to his facial expression of pursed lips.

His countenance is remarkable for its expression of forceful effort and his puffy cheeks, bulging eyes and furrowed brow have been used to portray a wide range of characters within the Kyōgen repertoire. Usobuki masks have been used to depict everything from comical human characters to the spirits of plants, fish and insects, including mosquitoes, mushrooms and even pine resin. Perhaps most remarkable of all is Usobuki's appearance as a sinner on his way to hell in a play entitled "A Sinner with References".

Kyōgen theatre (lit. wild words) is thought to stem from Sarugaku, a form of Chinese entertainment brought to Japan around the 8th century. It was a popular form of entertainment which included such elements as mime, acrobatics and magic encompassing both drama and comedy. By the 14th century, these contradictive forms of Sarugaku had become known as Noh and Kyōgen, respectively.
Stock Code 7284

More from this Dealer

View All
Seated Buddha
gouache and mixed media on paper
gouache on paper
A six-fold paper screen painted in ink and colour on a gold ground with a pine t...
A wood mask of Usobuki
A bronze water dropper in the form of a recumbent elephant
A scroll with bamboo and calligraphy
A hammered iron flower vessel of abstract form
A Japanese silk scroll with Jizō Bosatsu
A Tokoname storage jar
A pair of Japanese screens on a silver ground with ashi (reeds)
A Japanese bronze flower vessel of mimikuchi (ear-mouth) form with a band of lap...
A Japanese screen with a lake and ashi (reeds)
A six-fold Japanese screen on a silver ground with momiji (maple).
Gregg Baker Asian Art
Est 1984
Japanese and Chinese works of art, specialising in Japanese screens, Buddhist art and post-war avant-garde paintings.
142 Kensington Church Street | London | W8 4BN | England View Location
t +44 (0)20 7221 3533
Monday – Friday 10-6, Saturday by appointment only.