Nuoxi mask Mask portraying juge Bao Gong.
In China, masks are used in Nuoxi, an ancient ritual performed in temples dedicated to exorcist gods during New Year's Eve festivities. The dancers masquerade and represent deities or deified historical characters. The dance is performed to demonstrate the power of the gods and chase away evil spirits. In Jiangxi Province, dancers are compared to mediums. It is they who ask the Three Great Generals, who are placed at the top of an altar, to invoke a heavenly military expedition, made up of other gods, that comes to ward off evil. The most important is Kaishan. After performing the temple dances, follows the procession of the dancers incarnating the celestial military. These go from house to house spreading protection against disease and calamity.