Carved by hand, the faces of fierce-looking spirits are the guardian gods of Nuo culture. People believe the faces of angry spirits with their mouth open showing off their fangs can scare off the evil. Each item is carved out of a single piece of wood. Artist Hu Fayun combines the ancient traditional style with a modern raw and rugged twist to amplify the primitiveness and scariness of the totem.
People used to hang two of the totems on each side of their gate before Nuo rituals. Nuo drama (Nuo Xi) is known as the living fossil of drama for its thousands years of history. The purpose of Nuo was to drive away devils, disease and evil influences, and to petition for blessings from the gods.
The Nuo Dance was initially a mystic ritual used to eliminate evil spirits. Its name comes from one of these rituals, where the participants would recite the word "nuo" in order to rid themselves of evil influence. First originating between the 11th and 16th century BC, Nuo has many similarities to early pagan and shamanistic practices; performers would train in ritual procedures and Nuo opera to greet and rid themselves of the evil spirits in question. It has since evolved into a more elaborate drama with masked performers. Although the dance declined after the Song dynasty, it is still performed by Chinese ethnic minorities in remote regions of the Guizhou, Hunan, Sichuan, and Anhui provinces.
The Mask is the soul of Nuo Drama. The wooden mask also has religious implications; as the symbol and medium of a spirit, masks are governed by strict rules. Our masks are made by the best artists and carved to the highest standards.