Paul Binnie

Scottish, b. 1967

Dojoji: Mask

oil on canvas; signed at lower right BINNIE with artist's date seal 98, annotated by the artist on verso canvas with kanji title, 道成寺, and in English, "Dojoji: Mask" NO SERIES #13, Paul BINNIE 1998, and on the stretcher, Paul BINNIE 1998, 道成寺, DOJOJI, NO SERIES #13, 1998

painting 16 by 12 1/2 in., 40.64 by 31.75 cm
frame 24 3/8 by 20 7/8 in., 62 by 53 cm

In the play Dojoji, a shirabyoshi (a female dancer wearing a male costume) asks to be allowed to perform a dance for a Buddhist rite to consecrate the hanging of a renewed bell at the Dojo Temple. She hides under the bell when it is lowered to the ground. The temple priests pull the hanging bell up to reveal that the woman has been transformed into a monstrous poisonous snake. She is a demonic reincarnation of a woman who had been betrayed a long time ago by one of the temple’s priests. After a battle with the temple priests, the snake burns herself with her own flames.

Binnie depicts the snake demon wearing a traditional hannya mask, one that represents a horned female demon. (A daihannya mask featured in another painting in this exhibition illustrates the type of mask used for horned male demons.) In addition, the triangles on the silver brocade of the demon’s costume are intended to suggest the serpent’s scales.


(inv. no. C-3058)

price: $4,500


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site last updated
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Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
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