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About our Oni Masks

Oni masks have a long and fascinating history in Japan, dating back to the Heian period (794-1185). Oni masks were traditionally used as part of theatrical performances, most notably noh and kyogen, which are forms of classical Japanese theater. The masks were used to portray ogres, demons, devils, and other supernatural creatures.

Oni masks are instantly recognizable to most people, as they are characterised by their bright colours and exaggerated features. The masks typically have a large, grinning mouth, bulging eyes, and sharp teeth.

The most common colours used for the masks are red, blue, and yellow. Oni masks are traditionally made from papier-mâché, and may be decorated with gold or silver leaf.

Today, Oni masks are still used in traditional theater performances, but they have also become popular as decorative objects. Many people hang Oni masks in their homes for protection and good luck.

The masks are also used in festivals and other celebrations, including the Setsubun festival, which marks the beginning of spring. Oni masks are a great way to add a unique and eye-catching piece of Japanese culture to your home.

They can be used to add an element of mystery and whimsy to any room, and they make great conversation pieces. Whether you're looking for a terrific mask to wear or a traditional piece of memorabilia or an interesting decorative object, an Oni mask is sure to make a statement! 

Meaning and Origin of Oni Masks

Oni masks are symbols of strength, protection and luck that have been around in Japan for centuries. Originally used by Buddhist monks and samurai warriors, these masks were believed to ward off evil spirits and protect their wearers from harm. Today, oni masks are still worn by many people in Japan as a sign of courage and strength.

Oni masks have a distinct look and are usually made of wood or clay. They usually feature two horns, a wide-eyed expression, and a fierce-looking mouth. The masks are often painted in bright colors and are decorated with symbols such as waves, stars, and other symbols of protection.

Oni masks represent a variety of different meanings, depending on the context. In some cases, the mask may be used to represent a guardian spirit, offering protection from harm and bad luck. In other cases, it may represent a figure of justice, symbolizing the strength of a person’s convictions.

In other cases, it may be used to represent a powerful demon or evil spirit, reminding the wearer to stay vigilant and be prepared to face any challenge.

No matter the context, oni masks are a powerful and meaningful symbol in Japan. They remind us of the strength and courage of our ancestors, and serve as a reminder to stay strong and protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Hannya Masks vs Oni Masks

The Oni mask and the Hannya mask are two of the most iconic masks used in traditional Japanese theater known as Noh. While the Oni mask and Hannya mask may seem similar upon first glance, there are a few key differences between the two masks that make them distinct.

The Oni mask is a mask of a horned demon or ogre and is usually associated with wickedness and evil. The mask is usually bright red, with a wide face, menacing eyes, and sharp teeth. It often has horns, which symbolize the horns of the ox, representing strength and power.

There are also other variations of the Oni mask, such as the Oni-bi mask, which has a more kind expression.

The Hannya mask is a mask used to represent a woman who has become a demon due to jealousy and rage. It is usually white or light colored, with a pointed chin, and two horns that curl inward.

The eyes of the Hannya mask are often large, round, and often include tears streaming down the cheeks. The Hannya mask is often considered to be a symbol of spiritual transformation, representing the journey from human to demon.

While both masks are used in Noh theatre, the Oni mask is used to portray malevolent characters, while the Hannya mask is used to portray female characters experiencing intense emotion.

Additionally, the Oni mask is often brightly colored, while the Hannya mask is usually white or light in color. Both masks are powerful symbols of Japanese theater, and the differences between them can be seen in both their design and their purpose.