Mask for a Noh drama
Attributed to DEME Yūsui (?-1766)
Edo period, 18th century
Ko-omote (literally, “little mask”) represents the beauty of a girl not yet twenty. The eyes, nose and mouth are placed a little closer to the center and it has a high-browed forehead and plump cheeks and chin. These characteristics of a little girl successfully create the ideal image of an innocent maiden. A skilled actor can imbue an impassive expression with subtle emotion according to his movements. Ko-omote is the prototype for more than twenty other masks for female roles, each varying subtly from the innocence of this mask to convey sensuous, passionate, demented, or supernatural characteristics.
This mask has a typical face of Ko-omote with a perfect harmony. There are the traces of well-used. Some restorations are seen at the reverse but they were well done and old. DEME Yūsui was the seventh head of the Ōno-Deme family. It is said that he was a better master craftsman after the 4th head, DEME Mitsutaka.
Backside of mask: “Ko-omote (小面) Made by Deme Yūsui (出目友水作) with gold lacquer.