Friday, December 10, 2010
The oldest type of Tengu had a face that was bird-like, with a beak. Over time this became a long nose, and was probably incorporating elements of Sarutahiko, so long-nosed, red faced masks are sometimes called tengu, sometimes Sarutahiko.
The Tengu became associated with yamabushi, the ascetic monks of Shugendo. If the mask is wearing a small black cap. then I would call it a Tengu. Without a cap it might be a tengu, it might be Sarutahiko.
All of these masks were in shrines in the Kunisaki Peninsular in northern Kyushu.
The Sarutahiko mask will often be found paired with a round-faced female mask and its phallic/fertility association is clearer. The female is Uzume, Sarutahiko's wife.
More tengu masks, including some of mine, can be found here