Tea caddy featuring a striking design of three faces in the style of Noh theater masks around the sides of the canister, another mask forming the lid. Late Edo/early Meiji Restoration Period, Japan. Painted gesso over composition with inset hair and glass eyes. Chips to the gesso; minor scuffs and repairs. 7 x 5 x 5 inches.
Noh, derived from the Sino-Japanese word for "skill" or "talent," is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since the 14th century. Emotions are primarily conveyed by stylized conventional gestures, while the iconic masks represent the roles such as ghosts, women, children, and the elderly. Masks are central to Noh, and are understood to belong to certain basic types. The original ca. 60 types of masks, developed in the 15th to 16th centuries, have grown to more than 200 today.
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