Mask representing the face of Kuan Yin, a Buddhist deity (originally Bodhisattava Avalokiteshvara), wearing a crown on which a stylized representation of Amithaba Buddha, sitting cross-legged in meditation posture, is incised at the center front and framed by an incised floral design. The face of the mask has a severe expression, its eyes are pierced through, its ears are large. Wood, with traces of its original coloring in the recesses. China, 18th century. Height: 11" (27,5 cm). The mask is nicely mounted on a custom metal stand. Obvious signs of long use and great age, old (well made) restoration at the left eye, erosion all over, otherwise very good condition. A rare and unusual piece.
NOTE: originally a masculine Indian deity, Avalokiteshvara, the most important bodhisattva in the Buddhist pantheon, was transformed in China into Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. His mask was probably worn by actors/dancers during "Nuo" theater shows in village festivals.