Criticism: Masks In Noh Drama - Essay

Solrun Hoaas (essay date winter 1982)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Hoaas, Solrun. “Noh Masks: The Legacy of Possession.” The Drama Review 26, no. 4 (winter 1982): 82-86.

[In the following essay, originally published in Les Masques et leurs Fonctions, Hoaas explores the history of Noh masks, considering how they have evolved from being used as religious objects to being objects of artistic beauty that nevertheless have retained an intrinsic sense of sacredness.]

The history of the Noh mask is one of transition from religious object to artistic object. In the early exorcism and rice-planting rites that preceded Noh, when an actor put on a demon mask, he became a demon. When he put on the mask of a god, he became a...

(The entire section is 1643 words.)

Peter Lamarque (essay date spring 1989)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Lamarque, Peter. “Expression and the Mask: The Dissolution of Personality in Noh.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 47, no. 2 (spring 1989): 157-68.

[In the following essay, Lamarque claims that the portrayal of characters in the stylized and austere theatrical form of Noh is possible because of the character's ability to identify himself totally with the character he is representing by, paradoxically, dissolving his personality; Lamarque claims that the Noh thus uses a presentation of character that is radically different from that found in Western art.]


From the point of view of literary aesthetics, there are many...

(The entire section is 8260 words.)