gigaku mask, stylized wooden mask worn by participants in gigaku, a type of Japanese dance drama. Gigaku masks are the first known masks used in Japan and among the world’s oldest extant masks.
Unlike most Japanese masks, the Gigaku masks fitted around the whole head and face. They were made either of painted wood or kanshitsu, a combination of hemp cloth and lacquer. They often had hair attached.
The majority of masks are carved from wood
and are painted with a layer of lacquer, and most are primed with a kaolin clay cover with polychromatic pigments.
In many parts of the world, it is colored pink-orange-red by iron oxide, giving it a distinct rust hue. Lighter concentrations yield white, yellow or light orange colors.
Shadings, and black outlines around the features heightened
the drama of the mask.