Japanese Hannya Mask Tattoo Designs, Meanings, and Ideas
Hannya Mask History and Designs
Hannya masks are very popular in Japan, having been a prominent symbol in Japanese culture for centuries. Over the years, the design has spread in popularity outside of Japan, and it's now known around the world.
- The word hannya itself is the Sino-Japanese word for praina, which represents wisdom and knowledge
- Hannya masks depict a woman so overcome with envy and vengeance that she takes on the form of a demon overcome with jealousy and anger. Although she has demonic characteristics, a few human traits still remain.
- These masks are commonly used in Shinto ceremonial practices and used in traditional Japanese theatre, known as Noh Kabuki or Noh theater. The plays will depicts acts based on folk stories that date back centuries, some as far back as the 14 century.
- The mask is also used in kyōgen Japanese plays, as well as in Shinto ritual kagura dances.
What the Hannya Mask Looks Like
This design also often portrays an expression of guilt and suffering. It can come in neutral, bland colors or very vibrant, bold colors. If it uses more extreme colors, this portrays a deeper emotion of violence in that character. Her spiked horns and fang-like teeth are always prominent, as well as her stone-cold gleaming eyes.
Tattoo artists have put their own creative twist on this design, often straying from traditional characteristics. Learn more about this unique design below.
Design Options for a Hannya Mask Tattoo
This design can be done in a variety of different styles and variations.
- It may be designed with extreme colors to portray the extreme emotions of the character.
- It can also be done in black and gray inks, as well as green, blue, purple, red, pink, or orange ink.
- There are some specific characteristics that are almost always portrayed with the mask. As mentioned above, the hannya mask portrays fang-like teeth, horns, gleaming painful eyes, strands of hair, and a look of sorrow and anger upon her face. These characteristics have been altered, however, and other non-traditional ones can contain different elements.
- The tattoo can be just the mask alone, or it may be portrayed with associated elements and symbols. If you want to keep it traditional, consider adding koi fish, waves, dragons, wind, or cherry blossoms. Japanese characters, such as Kanji characters, may be another option. Some men and women may also choose to add their own theme.
- This is a great design to work into a full-sleeve Japanese-themed tattoo design. For example, samurai are another option you may wish to apply to your Japanese theme.
Here are some more common meanings of the hannya tattoo:
Would You Consider Getting a Hannya Tattoo Design?
© 2013 Richard Ricky Hale