Sunday, October 19, 2008
The earliest form of Tengu in Japan was a half-bird half-man creature, the Karasu (crow) Tengu, but the commonest form is the red faced, long nosed version that has come to be associated with yamabushi, the "mountain warriors" of Shugendo. Like all the masks, it is often used to ward off evil spirits. Like all my masks, this one is for sale at a very reasonable price :).
I've only seen the Tengu mask used in one kagura dance, and I've only seen it performed once.
This wonderful carved mask is in the temple on top of the mountain on Miyajima.
Another carved wooden mask, this one was over a metre in height, so obviously not meant to be worn. It seems the mouth is made to move. It was at a shrine in Miyoshi.
The tengu with it's huge nose is an obvious phallic symbol. This was one of a pair of masks guarding a "vagina" rock at a fertility shrine on Mt. daisen.