Important Cultural PropertyCarved wood Gigaku mask of Shishiko (temple lion)

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  • Cinnamomum camphora, colored
  • 26.8x19.1
  • Asuka period/7th century
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • N-208

Shishiko literally means a lion (Shishi) and a child (Ko), referring to the boy who leads a lion at the beginning of the Gigaku procession. The back of the head is made of wood and painted in white as a primary coating, while the forehead and the lips are painted in ultramarine and red, respectively. On the top of the head, a round copper plate is nailed, under which brown hair is fixed. The hair is quite short now, however, it was probably an ancient Chinese children's hairstyle.