Description: Yao people, Circa 18th to 19th century; Southern China
Location of Origin: Asia
Medium/Materials: Wood nails and rice paper with calligraphy.
Dimensions: 12H X 9W X 6D
Primary Classification: Asian Art : Chinese
Secondary Classification: Ethnographic & Tribal Arts
Expertise: The rice paper that is attached to this mask is the history of a woman’s life, her past, and her death. The face is divided in two halves: one side representing the first half of a person’s life and the other half representing the second half of a person’s life. Such tradition of physiognomy dates back to the Sung dynasty. Old woodblock prints are found in annals of physiognomy with facial diagrams for women and men with characters on the face describing a person's life, including his or her relatives, and revealing information about health and fortune.
Provenance: Field collected by Ian Alsop