Noh is an intimate form of Japanese traditional theatre that dates back to at least the 14th Century. Though generally light on props, Noh does however utilise masks to a large degree. As many Noh stories deal with supernatural themes, Kishin (demon) and Onryō (ghost) masks are prevalent.
The Hannya mask above represents a woman who turned into a demon. It is a familiar mask to those who have seen Kaneto Shindo’s classic 1964 film Onibaba.
This mask ^ is representative of Hashihime, a woman who fearing she had been abandoned by her lover drowned herself and became a jealous and dangerous spirit.
Namanari is a creature midway between human and demon. Their corrupting element may be a desire for sexual revenge.
Kitsune are trickster fox spirits that can transform into human form. Though in Japanese lore some foxes were sly goblin figures, others were the messangers of the Shinto spirit Inari.
The Ushi-Oni or Gyūki are bovine like demons that although are sometimes said to attack people are represented as protective spirits at the Uwajima summer festival.
Tengu are part bird-part human. They generally dwell in mountainous or forested regions where they may be considered protective spirits, but in some lore they are considered warlike beings.
The name Daikijin literally translates as Great Devil God but they may be utilised at village ceremonies as protector spirits.
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