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Antique Chinese "Bianlian" Nuo Mask of Tudi Gong

Antique Chinese "Bianlian" Nuo Mask of Tudi Gong

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Folk Art: Pre 1900: Item # 1229721

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Big "Bianlian" Nuo mask of Tudi Gong, the "God of soil" and grains, essential in an agrarian country. He is the main actor in Wunuo cult, usually represented with a smiling face, and long eyebrows and beard often missing or replaced later; when missing, we can see holes where the hair was fastened.
Bianlian means face changing: this mask has an articulated jaw which could be animated by the wearer.
Traces of ancient pigments on the cap of this very old and heavy hardwood mask; beautiful inside patina. Striking impression. Old indigenous restoration, small part missing on top of the cap and a few cracks, but overall in good condition for its great age. 27 x 19 cms. 19th C or before. Guizhou, Tujia. NM 53; RM 144,146,154,184,214; MC 69,92-99 (see bibliography)