Hahoe 10 Masks

Wooden masks used in Hahoe Pyolshin-Gut T'al-nori (Hahoe Mask Dance Drama) are made of the alder tree. They were first made in the middle period of the Korea dynasty (c.12 C) by Huh doryong. There were originally fourteen of these treasured Masks. Three of these (Chongak [Bridegroom], Byulchae and Ttuckdari-t'al) were lost. Eleven (Imae, Ch'oraengi, Kakshi, Chuji, Paekchong, Halmi, Chung, Yangban, Sonbi and Pune,) have been designated as National Treasure (No. 121). The distinctive characteristics of the Hahoe masks are of formative beauty. Fixed features of the Masks convey the expressions of joyful and pleasant feelings, and of the angry and grievous emotion. Thus, they are recognized as prominent masterpieces throughout the world. Especially the Masks of Yangban, Sonbi, Chung, and Paekchong. They are constructed naturally. The mouths will open and close. The movements of the chins in drama conversation expose the feelings of the characters very well. It is historically appreciated that Kakshi, Pune, and Halmi Masks do not have nostrils. Their mouths are small and reveal the social status and nature of the day.

Imae: A Fool

As the legend goes, Imae T'al is the mask without a chin. He plays the role of a foolish person and the servant of the Sonbi. His figure is roughly distorted, but discloses his naivete. His crooked nose reveals that one of his four hands and legs is deformed. The downslanted eyes signify that he is free from malice.
Dancing form: Imae's faltering steps.

Ch'oraengi: The Hasty Scatterbrained Meddler

The characteristics of Ch'oraengi are generally flippant expressions of a slave of the Yangban. His twisted and firmly closed mouth shows his discontented expression. The protruded forehead means the stubborn figure who disagrees with his master. His short nose represents his hasty actions.
 Dancing form: Ch'oraengi's frivolous steps.

Kaksi : The Bride

Kakshi enters as a substitute of the local goddess. She is generally quiet and calm, but her lips are firmly closed. This expression connotes that she is trying to keep her new marrage, and her tough life in her heart. She wears long tresses of hair in front and back. These show she only moves her head for hanging tresses when she is walking

Dancing form: Kakshi's soft steps.

Chuji : The Lion

This mask is similar to wings or fins. Chuji means lion in a Korean dialect. In another version of the mask dance, Chuji is called a pheasant-fight.

Dancing form: Chuji's fluttering steps.

Paekchong : The Butcher

The generally ill-tempered nature of Paekchong T'al shows a malicious figure with murderous intent when drooping his head. When he leaning backwards he has an insane grin because of his sense of guilt derived from killing bulls. His crooked forehead signifies he is of a sinister and cruel nature

Dancing form: Paekchong's perverse steps

Halmi : The Old Widow

Enters Halmi, the extremely poor old widow due to her hardship of life. The expressions around her eyes disclose the elderly strength derived from a person who has tasted the sweets and bitters of life. Her mouth shows the hungry expression, and her upward peaked head means that her later life is unfortunate.

Dancing form: Halmi's hip dance.

Chung : The Depraved Buddhist Monk

He is not a monk who trains himself at a Buddhist temple, but a wandering and depraved monk whose grin is roughly insidious. The crescent-shaped eyes accord with his characteristics revealed in his lecherous behavior.

Dancing form: Chung's deceitful steps.

Yangban : The Aristocrat

Yangban T'al is viewed as the masterpiece best representing the aesthetic value among Hahoe masks. Its expression is generally gentle, mixed with bombastic and leisurely expressions, just as goes the saying; "Yangban picks his teeth, even when he drinks water". The separarte chin with a hanging string makes firm the mouth when drooping the head, and thus changes himself into an angry face.

Dancing form: Yangban's swaggering steps.

Sonbi : The Scholar

Sonbi's expression reveals his ever disgruntled state not by adapting himself to common social structure. Additionally, he shows his dignity as a scholar and his unscholarly arrogance. The wide bridge around the tip of his nose and the developed cheekbone fit the scholarly figure.

Dancing form: Sonbi's long strides.

Pune : The Flirtatious Young Woman

Pune's oval face, crescent-shaped eyebrows, high nose, and small mouth are considered as the conditions of a beauty in our conventional society. She enters as a concubine and singing and dancing girl of Yangban and Sonbi. 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 quality.

Dancing form: Pune's elegant steps.