This is an Iwami kagura mask of Susano. Sometimes spelt Susanoh, sometimes Susano-O, sometimes Susano o mikoto. Susano appears in several kagura dances, but the most common, and most often performed as a finale, is the dance telling the story of his defeat of the 8-headed serpent Yamata no Orochi.
According to Yamato mythology Susano is the brother of Amaterasu, and he was kicked out of the High Plain of Heaven for numerous bad deeds attributed to his violent temper. The dynasty founded by Susano existed long before the Yamato rose to power, and from the stories of him locally, a completely different Susano is portrayed. He was a Culture Hero who brought metal working and other technologies from the Korean peninsular, and promoted intercourse between western japan and Korea. In actual fact the stories have him first arriving in Iwami before he moved to Izumo and slayed the dragon. Ever since Susano's descendant, Okuninushi, gave Japan to the Yamato, they have been denigrating him, but he rightly deserves the title of Father of Japan.
The mask is for sale, so please contact me or leave a message if interested.
Kagura Mask Index