This piece has previously been worn as attested by. There is some light patina on the upper edge of the backside of the mask and less so around the check-bone area.
There are string holes in the right ergonomic locations to have previously been worn with a piece of string. The reverse of the nose has been ergonomically recessed for the wearer's comfort. Setsubun is a Japanese festival celebrated on February 3rd which is the day before the first day of spring. This festival generally precedes the Lunar New Year.
Thus, it was also referred to as New Year's Eve in the ancient ideal. The Japanese celebrate this festival by throwing roasted soybeans outdoors to chase the naughty ogres or bad spirits (known as Oni) out of the home and bring happiness and good luck for the following year.There are both public, festival celebrations in the streets as well as private celebrations at the home. This mask may very well have been carved by the dad that later was also the one to march around wearing it. For some families, the father is dressed up like an Oni and the family members throw roasted soybeans at him outside the house. While throwing beans, they shout, Oni wa soto!
Which means Get out, Oni! Everyone then eats the roasted soybeans as a treat - one for each year of their life plus one extra for the coming year. Onis historically are thought of of beastly creatures in Buddhist underworld, where the red aka-oni and the blue ao-oni torment sinners. Most folks wear plastic Oni masks for Setsubun these days. Please note the slight losses around the eye pupils and the slight carve-through-areas around the upper nostrils.
Modern copper string added for hanging (and preservation) sake by yours truly; some prior rubber bumpers at the bottom, reverse, side to help the mask from sliding around against its display wall. Made of a soft, light, wood. A bit larger than most at: 12" length x 8" wide (30 x 20 cm). Other masks of my collection might be up: Check out my other items.This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian Antiques\Japan\Masks". The seller is "cosmic_goods" and is located in this country: US. This item can be shipped worldwide.