Guardian Oni (demon masks)

Japanese
Nambokucho period, 14th century
Wood
Gift of Kagedo Japanese Art
2010.1.14

These weathered wood demon masks were originally mounted as architectural details on a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple. Shinto, or “Way of the Gods,” is an indigenous tradition dating back to ancient and classical Japan. This pair of oni demon masks functioned as supernatural devices of protection for the building on which they were attached.