Hand Carved Wood Korean Hahoe Mask in Window Frame Yangban and Bune
Yangban Tal (an arrogant aristocrat mask) on the left is a representative of Hahoe Tal (Hahoe Mask) considered as the zenith of mask art. Yangban Tal represents the Korean smile and hospitality. Hahoi masks are outstanding in their forms and functions. In particular, masks for Yangban, Seonbi, Chung and Baekjung have a separate jaw like the real jaw to vivify dialogues and smiles. For example, if a performer bends his head back, his mouth is opened wide and looks to smile, and if he bends his head forward, his mouth is closed and looks to get angry. Thus, there is a saying, "The mask is so spiritual that it smiles as the performer smiles and gets angry as the performer gets angry."
Bune Tal (a flirtatious young woman mask) on the right has oval face, crescent-shaped eyebrows, high nose, and small mouth, which were considered as the conditions of a beautiful woman's face in the traditional Korean society. Even though she closes her mouth, these features of her face give her smiling look. She enters as a concubine and singing and dancing girl of Yangban (an arrogant aristocrat) and Sonbi (a pedantic scholar). The lewdness around the outer corners of her eyes and mouth signifies that she is a wanton woman. The crescent-shaped eyebrows mean that she is endowed with the artistic talent.
Hahoe masks have been used in Hahoe Tal Chum (Hahoe Mask Dance Drama), one of Korea's most traditional folk plays featuring various allegorical characters, such as Yangan (an arrogant aristocrat), Sonbi (a pedantic scholar), Bune (a flirtatious young woman), Chung (a depraved Buddist monk), Imae (a foolish servant), Baekjung (a coarse butcher), Halmi (an old widow) and more. Hahoe Tal Chum has been performed as a village ritual in Andong area of Gyeongsang-do province since Goryeo Dinasty (918-1392).