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Guizhou Province, China
Wood and pigments
H: 23; W: 18; Thickness: 7 cm
Anthropomorphic face mask cut on the lower part to articulate the lower mandible, which has now disappeared. The finely drawn upper lip reveals small teeth, the nose is wide and the nostrils thick, the nasolabial folds marked. Two round eyes are pierced and protruding, the expression lines of the forehead transmit a force to the gaze of this mask. Finally, the temples are sculpted with a pair of ears with distended lobes. He wears a tiered hat.
Nuo is a traditional Chinese sacred ritual that dates back to the Neolithic period. The ending “Nuo” means “expelling demons”. This ritual, performed today in the form of a theater, was then a masked procession involving the pantheon of deities. Whether evil or beneficial, they made it possible to respond to diseases or natural upheavals encountered by populations by driving out demons.
The making and wearing of Nuo masks were reserved for men.
Text and photos © FCP CORIDON
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