Which means Get out, Oni! Everyone then eats the roasted soybeans as a treat one for each year of their life plus one extra for the coming year.
Onis historically are thought of of beastly creatures in Buddhist underworld, where the red aka-oni and the blue ao-oni torment sinners. Made of a single block of highly aged wood (likely 2+ years of aging). This is a dying art unfortunately which has been telling historical arts for thousands of years. Last I knew, there were a dozen or less master mask makers in the greater Tokyo area. Most folks wear plastic Oni masks for setsubun these days.Its exceptionally rare to find a used/danced Japanese piece. The piece would have originally had some hair that seated in the small round holes at the top of the mask as well. That all said, its high quality, antique, danced, and its condition is commensurate with its age... So its a bit of a shame that they would loose sight of this piece's cultural importance.
Gold paint used originally on the eyes, teeth, and around the horns... Again attesting to the quality of the piece as it was originally created. Other masks of my collection might be up: Check out my other items. The item "Antique, DANCED, Japan/Japanese Wooden Ao-Oni Mask used in annual Setsubun" is in sale since Saturday, May 24, 2014. This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian Antiques\Japan\Masks".
The seller is "cosmic_goods" and is located in Freeport, Maine. This item can be shipped worldwide.