When you hear the word “Hannya”, you probably think about a mask with a frightful appearance and a pair of threatening horns. Did you know that this mask is used in Noh (traditional Japanese theater) to represent a woman eaten by grudge and jealousy?
Wouldn’t it be scary if you were walking in the dark and suddenly a Hannya mask appears right in front of you? You certainly can’t help but to run for your life.
Kōda Rohan, a Japanese author in the Meiji period, describes the Hannya as the “ultimate beauty”. The expression depicted on the mask, in fact, emphasizes the feature of woman’s beauty by having them carved deep into it. The meaning behind the mask is that jealousy can turn even the most attractive woman into a demon.
Today we collected a series of illustrations portraying the beautiful but scary Hannya. Enjoy!