Lacquer over wood mask of Ryo-o, by Deme Yasui dated 1763, from the Prince Tokugawa Collection is believed to be an exact copy of a mask from the Hachimangu Tsurugaoka Shrine in Kamakura. This mask is one of 23 Bugaku masks formerly from the Prince Tokugawa Collection acquired from the estate of Professor Charles Smith, Univeristy of Washington.
The Edo branch of the Tokugawa clan, which was closely aligned with the Tsurugaoku Hachimangu Shrine, apparently commissioned Deme Yusui (d. 1766) and other master mask carvers to copy a full set of the Bugaku masks of the Shrine about 1760. The Shrine unfortunately burned in the late 18th century and only a handful of the original masks were saved. Fortunately, original drawings of the Shrine’s masks were not lost. The recorded history of Deme Yasui’s project, however, was lost and while it was known copies had been made of their masks, it was not known a large collection of their masks existed.
In May 2010, several masks from the Prince Tokugawa Collection were taken to the Hachimangu Tsurugaoka Shrine for research and authentication. By matching the masks against the original drawings of the original masks, it was determined all of the Bugaku masks from the Prince Tokugawa Collection were, in fact, copies of the original masks and all were probably produced between 1760 and 1765. Some lacquer loss.
14 x 16 inches
35.5 x 40.6 cm