Noh TriviaQuestion and Answer

Question8 How do you care for Noh masks?

It is said that we cannot assess Noh masks if they are not more than a hundred years old. Some of the masks were made in the Muromachi Period (1392 - 1573), and have been used by numerous performers over hundreds of years. The performer consumes so much energy in a piece that the lining of the mask in contact with his face will be stained with sweat and sebum.

The care starts when you remove the mask. You take it off upward in order not to allow sweat to drop on the front. The mask is then taken care of, but washing is out of the question. You wipe any moisture carefully with Japanese paper, and let it dry moderately.

Then you check the condition of the dryness, and put the mask in a bag with a cotton cushion, and store it in a paulownia-wood box.

Masks are sometimes stored one by one in a specially designed chest. Airing in every season is crucial for masks, as well as for costumes.

Performers say they are filled with special deep emotion transcending hundreds of years when they don old masks.


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