The tengu, with it’s striking red face and elongated nose, is in countless tattoos and artworks around the world. It’s one of the most popular and well known symbols in Japanese tattooing and art. It’s history and origins are even more vibrant and rich. Let’s take a deeper look into the Tengu mask history and symbolism.
The tengu has ties to many cultures, having been in Chinese and Japanese mythology, theatre, buddhism and shintoism. It was first recorded in a Chinese text dated back to 1791, and is also mentioned in the Japanese Nihon Shoki, the second oldest book of Japanese history. The tengu has many different forms and variations throughout history.
Tengu mask history
Most commonly, they are a red faced man with black facial hair and a long nose. Some depict it as instead having a long beak or even a bird of prey itself. Some literature depicts the tengu as a big star or ”heavenly dog”. In most instances however, the tengu is a mischievous and impish creature just looking to cause some harmless trouble. His favorite form is an old hermit living in the mountains known as Yamabushi. He took on his human form so many times that he became more human in appearance.
The most iconic tengu mask is attributed to Noh theatre in Japan. He is usually depicted as his trickster self, but also as a patron of martial arts and a skilled fighter and warrior. A person may also wear a tengu mask during a shinto to bring good luck to the wearer and ward off bad spirits.
In conclusion, the tengu mask is a great tattoo image for its bold appearance and striking energy. With a stunning rich history, it’s no wonder so many people have a tengu on them. We hope you find this post informative and consider Tabernacle tattoo for your next ink adventure. For more information, visit this article and check out our blog for more tattoo info.