This print is of a traditional Noh Mask representing the Yamabushi Tengu who is normally depicted as a barefoot, wandering, elderly mountain monk (or yamabushi) with an extremely long nose and usually red-faced. Yamabushi tengu are considered to have a mischievous sense of humor, for they love playing tricks on those they encounter, especially on pretentious and arrogant Buddhist priests and samurai. In fact, the long nose symbolizes the tengu's hatred of arrogant, prideful, fame-seeking priests and monks. Such priests would be turned into long-nosed Yamabushi Tengu (or sent to Tengudo, the realm of the Tengu) after their deaths.
It was also believed that when a child went missing, a tengu had stolen it. The origin of this idea comes from the Chinese origin the "tengu." The kanji that are pronounced "tengu" in Japanese can also be read as Chinese for heavenly dog; "T'ien-kou," which refers to the Dog-star of ancient Chinese astronomy, which was thought to be the soul of a young virgin eager to seize a child to take her place in the sky and thus allow her to be reincarnated as a mortal. Thus, tengu are quite an appropriate subject for this Year of the Dog.