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White Oni Mask by merimask White Oni Mask by merimask
This is my own version of a Japanese Oni (demon) mask, made entirely from leather.

Based on Japanese Kyogen theater motifs, I made this my own creation by using a unique technique of leather sculpting that I have pioneered (because I'm self taught and I didn't know what the heck I was doing!).

The mask is carved out of 8oz leather, three times the thickness of most Venetian-style leather masks. This allows me to carve the leather deeply, but requires me to shape the entire sculpture by hand with no use of molds or armatures.

I painted it with a variety of acrylic stains that are both waterproof and colorfast. I like to mix my own colors. I also do not use an airbrush...that's all done by hand.

This particular mask is appearing onstage in Japan, from October through mid-December of 2008. It is featured as part of the Muscle Musical "Magicarade" performance.

Many of these pieces are available for sale on my Etsy site; [link]
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Underdog-Girl Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I notice with this and another oni mask the eyes look kind of sad... Strangely enough that's what makes me love them! :love: Keep adding character to your masks.
GiNgErPaNdErZ Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I have an idea for a mask. It's an old Japanese legend thing. Maybe you could think of something to do with it?
I know you could pull it off. You have the talent.
dananew1 Featured By Owner May 4, 2009   Traditional Artist
Aww, this one is definitely one of my favorites... Probably because I love Onis. <3
Lhene-Amira Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2008  Student Writer
It looks like it's confused. =p
I really like how it invokes emotions even when it's not on someone's face.
merimask Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
That's true! This mask was inspired by Kyogen theater oni masks...& that eye shape is specifically for tragic "ghost" spirits that are eternally confused & saddened because they are trapped in limbo (& therefore are dangerous!)
Lhene-Amira Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2008  Student Writer
That's very interesting. Do all your masks have this sort of depth behind them?
merimask Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
That particular mask was part of a very special project. I provided 45 masks for the "Muscle Musical" production called Magicarade, which is running right now in Tokyo. The theme for the show is magic & masks...perfect for my work!

But yes, in general I do research my motifs & inspirations pretty throughly. When people say "Why did you do it this way?" I like to give answers that make sense & possibly even enlighten. ^_^
Lhene-Amira Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2008  Student Writer
45 masks?! How long did that take??
merimask Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter a normal month I make about 20 to 25 masks. But this was a huge opportunity for me & I had a really tight deadline, so I created all 45 masks in just under 3 weeks! It was a heck of a feat, to be honest. I surprised myself!
Lhene-Amira Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2008  Student Writer
That's pretty amazing. What types of masks did you have to make, besides the demon ones?
merimask Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Oh, I made all sorts of things! If you go to this LiveJournal entry you"ll see pictures of every mask I made: [link]

If you go to this entry you'll see pictures from my last trip to Japan, where I was working on the show: [link]
(1 Reply)
FireGazer Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! You can do serious stuff with just two colors. I like the starkness of it- the expression really does remind me of drama masks.
merimask Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2008  Professional Artisan Crafter
Thank you! Yeah there was a color theme in the stage show I made that mask for; it was part of the white & black group.

It's based on a Kyogen theater "ghost" mask so it does look very dramatic.
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Submitted on
November 20, 2008
Image Size
577 KB


191 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/800 second
Focal Length
5 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Oct 1, 2008, 11:56:56 AM