Noh: A mask representing a female serpent-demon filled with malicious jealousy and hatred. Two sharp horns sprout from the temples, and bulbous, metallic eyes lie half hidden beneath scowling brows. The gaping mouth is full of gold teeth, with upper and lower fangs that heighten her ferocity. The flesh tone of the face varies depending on the social rank of the woman portrayed, with a lighter complexion (shiro hannya) indicating aristocratic status, light on top and red below indicating lower-class humans, and totally red (nikushiki hannya) for true demons. Worn by women betrayed or spurned by their lovers who turn into serpent demons, such as in Aoinoue and Dôjôji, or by demons who first appear in human form to trap the unwary, as in Kurozuka (Adachigahara) and Momijigari.
Several traditions account for the name "hannya." The most plausible account traces the origins of the mask to the mask carver Hannyabô, who was active in the late 15th or early 16th century. A fine Muromachi period hannya mask is property of the Eisei Bunko in Tokyo; another is property of the Hôshôkai, Tokyo.
See nômen, onryô. Compare ja, hashihime, namanari. [MB]