Tengu

tengu samurai mask s

After I posted drawings of a Japanese mask and netsuke a few weeks ago, A-wing and A-way asked me if there were any Tengu masks in the book.  There were a few netsuke, but no masks, so I looked some up online to draw.  The samurai mask above was one of my favorites…quite imposing on top of the armor too.

tengu mask side s

Looks a bit like angry birds, no?

tengu netsuke s

Tengu is an interesting character, and there seem to be many different sides to his mythology.  He is a shape-shifting trickster mountain god, and always has a bird-like aspect:  wings, talons, hatching from giant eggs.    In fact, Tengu hatching from an egg is the most common form of his representation in netsukes.

tengu long nose s

Karasu tengu, “crow tengu”, is the one with the beak.  He seems to be the more malicious cousin, a herald of disaster and war.  Konona tengu, the mountain monk, has a human face with a long nose.  He is a skilled  warrior, and is more often helpful to humans.

garuda s

Because of the cross-fertilization between the culture, religion, and mythology of Japan with both China and India, many think Tengu is derived from Garuda, the bird-like mount of Lord Vishnu.  There is certainly a resemblance.

You can read A-wing and A-way’s post on birds in Japanese culture here.

And you can see my other drawings of Japanese masks and netsuke here.

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel

16 responses to “Tengu”

  1. Sharon Mann says :

    Theses are wonderful mask sketches and thank you for the included history. Using the brown paper was a good choice.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Laura (Createarteveryday) says :

    I agree with Sharon; that brown paper was fab for these. So much character and expressiveness in these sketches! Happy almost Friday. 💛

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks. I like the brown paper for the Japanese masks and netsukes because they are mostly neutral. The garuda masks from India, on the other hand, are brightly colored. Interesting how cultures approach their art.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Carol King says :

    I never heard of Tengu, so thank you for telling us about this trickster. What great drawings. exciting line work and colors.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash) says :

    These are fantastic sketches!! And I kick hearing bits of the history. And particularly loved the Angry Birds comment…it kind of does!! Hehe

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Teresa Robeson says :

    Such a fascinating tale of tengu and some terrific drawings to go with your explanation! I’m not familiar with the legend but now I’m intrigued. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. M.R. Emberson says :

    Wow, I love all the illustrations and the information. You captured the vibrant variety of the Tengu’s features! I’m going to edit my post on “Birds in Shinto and Japanese Culture” to include a link to this. Many thanks again!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lesliepaints says :

    So interesting! That top sketch just cracks me up. Trickster for sure!

    Like

  8. artandmoondreams says :

    These works look fabulous. Love the use of the tinted paper. What a wonderful looking collection this is. Thank you for sharing beautiful art and history.

    Liked by 1 person

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