The Kura - Japanese Art Treasures

Rare! Antique Japanese Kyogen Fox Mask

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1920: Item # 1181260

Please refer to our stock # MOR4169 when inquiring.
The Kura
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817-2 Kannonji Monzen-cho
Kamigyo-ku Kyoto 602-8385
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A hand carved antique wooden mask of Tenko or the nine-tailed Kuuko, heavenly White Fox (kitsune) which do good, wrapped in a modern silk bag and enclosed in an antique black lacquered wooden box. The mask is roughly 21-1/2 x 17 x 20 cm (8-1/2 x 7 x 8 inches) and in excellent condition. A cartouche bearing the artists signature can be seen inside the black lacquer within. The Fox has many roles in Japanese Folklore. First it is a symbol of fortune and bounty, and guards Shinto Shrines as Inari-san. That is all good but it also has a devious side, with the ability to shape-shift, turning itself into a woman in order to lure victims to their doom. The Kitsune mask is used for the old fox in Fox Trapping (Tsurigitsune), the highest-ranking Kyogen play in which an old fox who has lost all of his relatives to a hunter's trap assumes human form to try to convince the hunter to stop killing.