What was the use of masks in Japanese Noh theatrical productions? How was this type of theatre different from European drama of the time?
Noh drama, with its extreme stylization, use of a chorus, dancing, stylized costumes and masks, and relationship to religious ritual, is actually closer to ancient Greek, especially Aeschylean drama, than to naturalistic plays of the European Renaissance of a similar date, which rely on speech, don`t use masks, have limited song and dance, and are not connected to religious ritual. The mask in Noh originally was an instrument by which a god possessed a performer. In later phases of Noh, the mask is itself part of the dramatic aesthetic, rather than simply a way of identifying a character type as it was in Greek drama. The most important mask types are gods and demons, but other masks serve to express emotion.