For a dose of Japan’s most revered folklore, guys of all descents are enjoying the menacing magic of Hannya mask tattoos. This harrowing icon is a mainstay of the country’s ancient theater, and it is a potent archetype that can strike a daring chord with everyone.
The most recognizable facet of a Japanese Noh play seems to be the Hannya mask.
These purposefully terrifying countenances were meant to signify the spirit of a scorned female lover. Thus, any man who has a vengeful ex-girlfriend can appreciate the captivating fear that looms in one of these ancient creations.
Hannya mask tattoos are beatifically reviving the legacy of a 14th century demon. Their ostentatious visage will be instantly striking while adding international attitude to your outlook. The horns serve as a potent warning in the name of impending devastation.
Because the original masks required ample care and attention during construction, they are also ideal symbols of discipline and dedication. Furthermore, they showcase an affinity with monks, particularly since the facial features were concocted in a chaste spiritual circle.
To become a sovereign recipient of unquestionable cultural flair, all you have to do is experiment with one of the upcoming extraordinarily glorious Hannya mask tattoos.
Their primary prerogative is to offer you cavalier composure!
This is a tremendous abstract Irezumi mask tattoo. It differs from normal in the way the colors have been applied with shadowing rather than flat, bright application. The artist’s ability to create a metallic quality through the mask – particularly the teeth and nose – give it a fearsome cast.
An interesting lower forearm tattoo in black and gray. The tattooist has opted to keep the image narrow down the arm rather than totally wrap it around as other complete half sleeves would. The piece does a good job contrasting between black, gray, and negative space.
A tremendous Oni tattoo that creates a wonderful demonic style through the application of a single, garish red. Love how just this single technical innovation moves it from a regular mask into unusual and innovative.
This tattoo is an excellent take on the Hannya mask in black and gray. The arm piece is thickly textured, but utilizes clever shade applications to give the artwork the appearance of being carved into skin.
A traditional Irezumi, this sleeve tattoo builds on the central mask with popular shade motifs such as waves and flowers to give it more extensive contrast between color and shade. The poached egg yellow of the character’s eyes is an especially well applied technique, making them stand out from the blue, purple, and red throughout the remaining image.
This is a bad ass full back piece etched in black and gray. It’s a masterful work linking mask and dragon to create a full back tattoo in the Irezumi style. Love the application of pattern within the different shades of gray – dragon scales, demon’s horn and hair – all work well off each other in forming the individual textures. Also, the use of negative space as an alternative filler adds layers of shadow folded into the entire artwork.
This half sleeve tattoo uses a unique application of shadow to give the piece a cool, unique aspect. The alternating layers of swirling gray and negative space etching are an effective fill for the mask, and for the other elements of the tattoo not pictured. They are a nifty way to join everything up and create consistency in the Japanese theming.
The darkness of this tattoo may be affected by the way the image was photographed. The piece looks to be a lower face mask tattoo, that separated from the hairline – it could be another tattoo. Like the details of the nose and teeth, aided by some clever white ink highlights to create a meaner visage, and the masks angle on skin is also cool.
These twin Japanese hand tattoo tattoos are well etched. The use of color here is important to give the masks adequate fill. Like the mixture of white ink internally on the tattoo to aid detail, and the gray shadow giving it some pop off the skin.
Love the blue ink applied precisely into the ink of this Japanese mask. By keeping it pale, and combining the sky blue with negative space highlights there is a lot more subtlety to the mask. It has been designed with skill to stand out against the black line and negative space of the rest of the full sleeve, and achieves an interesting sense of disembodiment from the rest of the work.
The archetype for a Japanese mask tattoo. The mixture of fiery red, tempered with heavily detailed black shading creates a fearsome visage. Love the clarity of the eyes and teeth in white, topped off by the blue fill color contrast.
Another tattoo given the fancy photo treatment, the mask seems like a TV show lurker. The degree of gray shade is the key component, it’s light and simple enough to allow detail to come from the clever application of flat black and fuzzy line work. It’s hard to tell here, but using pink flower flourishes would help ease some heaviness from the rest of the work.
A bad ass mask as part of a bloodthirsty full arm sleeve Irezumi. Love it being so chock full of color, and the fill space of the mouth in tightly patterned wicker is a cool technical expression by the artist. You see the severed head on the far left of the image? That is known as a Namakubi and could symbolize respect for an enemy, courage, or an expression of fear.
This is a unique yet unfinished piece of body art to cover up old, faded work. The demon mask will eventually be a full black, densely shaded tattoo covering the entirety of the subject’s upper body. Expect there will also be some dark colored shadow added outside of the mask to finish the job. Getting a solid glimpse of the outline on skin shows the monumental task ahead of the artist as he looks to move on from the old piece.
Love the new school flavor of this full sleeve. It incorporates some heady color choices to give it some individual flair, such as the emerald eyes and core of the flowers. The contrast between the orange petals and heavy black gray shade elements giving the mask its expression stands out and gives the tattoo a very intense effect, lightened somewhat by clever use of trailing negative space placement.
What is the meaning of a Hannya mask tattoo?
Hannya masks are commonly used in Shinto religious rites and traditional Japanese Noh theatre. Hannya masks depict a woman so completely overcome with anger, envy and a thirst for vengeance that she takes on the form of a jealous demon. Hannya masks are popular tattoos because the fearsome visage is used to represent different stages of emotion when etched into skin using different colors.
What’s the difference between Hannya and Oni?
The Japanese Oni (demon) mask differs from the Hannya mask in that the demon describes aspects of good and evil. Traditionally, Oni mask tattoos represent the punishment of humans for acts of evil and injustice. The Oni mask tattoos are particularly popular with Yakuza Irezumi tattoos because of the connection to criminality.