So today I present my Usobuki Mask. (in the video down the blog a bit) I first saw someone using this mask at a shrine near my house in Japan. I was surprised how transforming the mask was - truly invoking of a spirit.
The Usobuki mask is one of the numerous masks used in kyogen, although the number of masks in kyogen is much less than noh. Kyogen plays are the comic interludes between noh dramas. They humerously reflect old tales and the problems of the human condition. Therefore, these masks reflect that humorous aspect. They usually exhibit amusing or absurd, exaggerated expressions. Usobuki is one of the type of masks with an exaggerated expession. The name of the mask can be interepreted several ways: an expression of innocence, whistling, or blowing on a fire are several of those. The crossed, bulging eyes, the puckered protruding mouth and up turned whiskers all contribute to a sense of the absurdity of life. Actors wearing usobuki masks can represent both human characters and the spirits of animals and fragile insects such as moths mosquitoes and cicadas.