• 2009.103.1 Hyottoko Mask
  • 2009.104.2 Okame mask (front)
  • 2009.104.1 Okame mask (front)
  • 2006.X.112 Ultraman mask (front)
  • AB 85-40 Lion Mask (jaws open)
  • AB 81-122 Kappa mask (front)
  • AB 81-98 No mask (front)
  • AB 86-1 Tengu Mask
  • AB XX 193 Tengu Mask
  • 2009.194.1 Oni Mask
  • 2006.X.71 Hyottoko Mask
  • 2006.X.59 Kitsune mask (front)
What is it?
Okame Mask
What is it made of?
Where is it from?
When was it made?
Object ID

This painted papier-mâché face mask represents Okame, or Otafuku, a figure from Japanese folklore who is considered the goddess of mirth. She is recognizable by her bulbous cheeks and forehead, as well as her expression of happiness. She is painted in a light skin tone with black hair, light grey circular eyebrows and orangish-red lips. There are slits cut at the eyes for viewing and holes cut at the nostrils; a cord made of paper is threaded through a hole on either side of the head for wearing. The inside of the mask is covered with sections of rice paper that have been written on in Japanese characters with black ink; a red strip of velvet paper with gold writing that is mostly faded is pasted to the inside of the forehead.

Okame, also known as Uzume or Otafuku, the "homely woman," is a figure from Japanese folklore. Okame is often portrayed as the female counterpart of Hyottoko in traditional Japanese Kyogen theatre (both are somewhat comical figures).  She is considered to be the goddess of mirth and is frequently seen in Japanese art with her characteristic full cheeks and merry eyes. It is believed that Okame masks represent what was once an idealized form of feminine beauty.

Gift of Mr. Yasui, 1984
2009.104.1 Okame mask (front)