Close-up photographs of INI members’ Noh masks

The International Noh Institute

This year’s Men-no-kai Noh mask carving exhibition took place at the Kyoto Prefectural Center for Arts and Culture 28th-30th November. Among others three INI members, INI Senior Director Rebecca Teele Ogamo (USA), Kim Hea-Kyoung (South Korea), and Elaine Czech (USA) exhibited their latest works.

Czech carved a Ko-omote, one of the most popular Noh masks outside. It is also the first Noh masks that is carved by beginners. Despite its apparent simplicity, the Ko-omote is a very difficult mask to carve, and mask carvers often come back to it later in their mastery. Ko-omote (lit. ‘small face’) is used for main or secondary roles when the character is a young girl or, in some cases, a supernatural being. The face of Ko-omote is inspired by the aesthetic canons of the Heian period (794-1185), regarded as a golden-age of cultural sophistication and refinement. The face is painted in white, eyebrows…

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