Tag Archives: Noh Masks

Noh Masks Exhibition by Roger Voltz at Chubu Denryoku Gallery in Shizuoka City!

Roger Voltz, a French national, who has resided no less than 39 years in Shizuoka City has been establishing his name for quite some time in the Shizuoka and Japan Art World after 20 years of creating Noh masks according to Japanese tradition only in painstaking labor once back home from work mainly as a University lecturer.

He has been holding exhibitions, both individuals and in collaboration, for some time and has become a regular attraction in the local art world.
His latest exhibition started yesterday and will last until the 16th at the gallery inside the Chubu Denryoku Company in Shizuoka City

When asked what drove him to spend so much time and will in his art his answer came quickly enough:
“I would like to leave a legacy for the younger generation to continue.”
That is what art should all be about, shouldn’t it?

Roger being interviewed by the Shizuoka Shinbun Daily newspaper (700,000 copies1). The article actually appeared this morning!

Apart of becoming proficient in martial arts he has been carving Noh masks for the last 20 years.
Noh Theater is one of the oldest forms of theater in Japan (originating out of combination of Chinese performing arts, known as sarugaku, and traditional Japanese dance called dengaku、during the Muromachi Era, 13th~16th Century) and has attained great fame in World Performing Arts for its intricate dances, music and acting.
The actors are exclusively male and usually only the main one wears a mask(s) on stage.
There are five Noh Theater “Schools” all possessing their own original masks.
But the same masks have to be duplicated according to rules and traditions as obviously these original masks are really worn, invaluable relics they are!
So far Roger has carved and exhibited 20 masks under the guidance of his Master, Kishinosuke Atsumi.
This time he exhibits a carefully chosen selection of 9 masks.

Here my 3 favorite. Come and visit the exhibition to enjoy the whole collection at your pace and leisure!


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Carving the masks in wood is a long and intricate process taking 8~10 months in Roger’s cas as he can create them only during his spare time.
Each mask weighs 130g~150g for female characters and 150~180 g for male counterparts.
Each mask is carved out of a block of either hinoki/檜/Japanese cypress or kusunoki/楠/camphor tree, both valuable wood in this country.
Ask Roger who is usually on hand between 3:00 and 4:30 to explain them all!
He is certainly a wealth of knowledge to meet!

If you want to contact Roger directly for more information, write to him at rvoltz@mta.biglobe.ne.jp!

Last year’s article THERE!

Exhibition site
Chubu Denryoku Company, Yume Kkyu Gallery
Shizuoka City, Suruga Ku, Magarigane, 6-3-38
Tel..: 0129-985-210
Car park available
Exhibition Schedule: October 3~16th, 09:00~16:30
Closed on Saturdays and Sundays

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Noh Mask Artist: Roger Voltz

Roger Voltz standing in front of his artworks at the recently exhibition in Shziuoka Bank Shizuogin Gallery Yonki.

“I would like to leave a legacy for the younger generation to continue.”

Roger Voltz (63, a French citizen born in St. Denis in the suburbs of Paris, came to Shizuoka City in 1973 to settle down after a long travel through the woorld.
A University language lecturer by trade he had always been attracted by the Japanese culture.

Apart of becoming in martial arts he has been carving Noh masks for the last 18 years.
Noh Theater is one of the oldest forms of theater in Japan (originating out of combination of Chinese performing arts, known as sarugaku, and traditional Japanese dance called dengaku、 during the Muromachi Era, 13th~16th Century) and has attained great fame in World Performing Arts for its intricate dances, music and acting.
The actors are exclusively male and usually only the main one wears a mask(s) on stage.

Akobujou/阿古父尉/Old Man

There are five Noh Theater “Schools” all possessing their own original masks.
But the same masks have to be duplicated according to rules and traditions as obviously these original masks are really worn, invaluable relics they are!

Hanjo/班女/Lady Han

So far Roger has carved and exhibited 20 masks under the guidance of his Master, Kishinosuke Atsumi.
5 of them were exhibited at The Exhibition held with three more artists at the Shizuoka Bank/Shizugin Gallery Yonki March 10th~16th.
He is far from being a new face in the art as he has already exhibited in the Shizuoka Prefecture Museum and in Mariko.

Kantan Otoko/邯鄲男/The Man form Kantan

Carving the masks in wood is a long and intricate process taking 8~10 months in Roger’s cas as he can create them only during his spare time.

Yamanba/山姥/the Old Mountain Crone

Each mask weighs 130g~150g for female characters and 150~180 g for male counterparts.

Hashihime/橋姫/Princess Hashi (the mask of jealousy!)

Each mask is carved out of a block of either hinoki/檜/Japanese cypress or kusunoki/楠/camphor tree, both valuable wood in this country.
The process was kindly demonstrated with maks carvedin different stages at the exhibition:

The “four main stages”

A rough picture is drawn on a block weighing around 1 kg.

A rough mask is carved with help of hard paper measures.

The face is gradually carved in more details with the help of hard paper model.

The finished product hollowed out to fit the face of the actor with holes for the eyes and mouth!
It will then be careful painted.

I’m planning to interview Roger in his atelier soon to show you a more detailed explanation!

If you want to contact Roger directly for more information, write to him at rvoltz@mta.biglobe.ne.jp !

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