Kyogen dancer

Place made: 
Asia; Japan
Kyogen dancer, 19th century
Wood and ivory; carved with pigment
Overall: 1 5/8 in x 15/16 in x 15/16 in; 4.1 cm x 2.4 cm x 2.4 cm
William Richter Collection, Gift of Margaret Ruth Richter (Class of 1939)
MH 1986.30.74

The Kyogen is a comic dance commonly performed as an intermission between two classical Noh plays. The ivory inlay on this netsuke represents a Hyotoku mask with a facial expression that suggests drunkenness. Peering out from underneath the kimono is a smiling face, indicating that in Kyogen facial expressions do not have to be masked, but can be achieved naturally or with the aid of makeup.