This handpainted tengu (goblin) mask is made of papier-mâché and features the tengu's characteristic abnormally long nose. The eyebrows, mustache, and beard of the mask are made of sisal. The face is painted red with black and gold accents. Tengu masks would be used in festivals dedicated to this creature, designated the protector of farmers. It is a modern version of a traditional tengu mask (both in technique and in form). Because there are no holes for eyes or for breathing, this mask was probably not meant to be worn.
Tengu are supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore, and they often appear in works of art, theater, and literature. They are one of the best known yokai (monster/ghosts) and are sometimes worshipped as Shinto kami (sacred spirits or gods). Their name derives from a dog-like Chinese demon ("tiangou"), but in Japan the tengu were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey. As a result, they are traditionally depicted with both human- and bird-like characteristics. Though tengu were historically pictured with beaks, another version of the tengu gradually emerged, known as the yamabushi tengu. Yamabushi are mountain hermits, believed to have supernatural powers. The tengu named after these figures have unnaturally long noses, rather than beaks, and distinctive small black caps.