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Omote (面)

The masks used in Noh and kyōgen, known as either omote or men. Many characters wear masks in Noh, and there are more than 200 types of masks corresponding to different types of characters. In kyōgen, which uses fewer masks than Noh, there are around 20 types of masks. The masks are the very faces of the characters, and are so important that the performance may change based on the mask being used. In addition to being a prop used on the Noh stage, the masks are highly venerated objects passed down through the generations in the schools of Noh and kyōgen. Various terminology is used to describe the masks: the performers putting on the mask is called either “donning” or “putting on” the mask, the making of the mask is known as “striking a mask” and the mask maker is known as the “mask striker.”

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