Japanese Buddhist Lion Mask " Gashira " 18th c.

Traditional buddhist Shi-shi lion festival or "gashira" mask, representing a guardian with magical powers. This carved wooden Shi-shi mask is lacquered in black, red and gold and has a movable jaw. Horse hair makes up the mane. This shishi mask is used during the shishi-mai or lion dance and is often seen at shrine festivals and at New Year's, when performers visit each home in the neighborhood to cast charms against evil spirits and diseases while receiving offerings.