By: Louk Vreeswijk

Mar 19 2023

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Category: Asia, Japan

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Okame is the name for the mask of a young woman with a small upturned nose and big round cheeks. It is also the name of the wife of the master carpenter who built the large hall of the Senbon Shakado temple in Kyoto where I saw this nicely illuminated mask. The story goes that she helped her husband with the construction of the temple and then killed herself to save his honour. This must be the reason her mask is displayed on a wooden tray in the main temple hall.
The Okame mask is believed to bring good fortune. There seems to be a custom in Kyoto to attach an Okame mask to a wooden wand at the time of roof-laying ceremonies. (Source of the text: Japanese Wiki Corpus)

Photo of the week: Okame mask in Senbon Shakado temple, Kyoto, Japan 2008

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