Study Report on the 16th Century Historical Materials Related to Noh Masks and Senmen: the First Seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

Presentation about Noh masks

 Noh mask and Senmen (fan surface) are important study objects related to religion and celebrations from ancient times, from the viewpoint of not only Japanese art history, but also Japanese cultural history. OTANI Yuki (Research assistant of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) presented her research titled a Consideration on the Beshimi Mask Owned by Aizu Museum.

 This beshimi mask is from the Inaba family, the lord of the Usuki domain in Bungo Province. It has some inscriptions, such as “made by Sakai Sōzaemon”. The okina mask owned by the Nagataki Hakusan Shrine in Gifu and the okina mask owned by the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima are objects related to the beshimi mask from the Inaba family. It is interesting that they were devoted to the same petitioner of the beshimi in a similar period. OTANI studied the form of these beshimi masks as masks for devotion in the Muromachi period and considered them to be made in the transitional period to the Chorei Beshimi type. In this presentation, we invited Mr. ASAMI Ryusuke of the Tokyo National Museum as a commentator. He talked about the importance and challenges of the Noh masks study. He also pointed out the issues of regionality and acceptance of this mask’s craftsmanship.

 Following this, ONO Mayumi (Head of the Japanese and East Asian Art History Section) conducted a presentation titled Ōgiya Sōkyū, a painter mentioned in Kanemikyōki. Kanemikyōki is a diary of YOSHIDA Kanemi (1535-1610), a shinkan (priest) of the Yoshida Shrine in Kyoto. It is a precious historical source that tells us of the movements of court nobles and sengoku warlords. Among the people related to YOSHIDA, she focused on Kanō Sōkyū (Ōgiya Sōkyū), a painter mentioned more than 10 times in this diary. She found a relationship between court nobles and Ōgiya that was unknown earlier. Kanemi presented senmen made by Sōkyū to the houses of Oda, Toyotomi, Maeda, and others. Furthermore, YOSHIDA built a close relationship with Sōkyū by inviting him to dinner and banquets. With these facts, ONO added a new consideration to the importance and role of the painter Ōgiya.

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