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128px-Padlock-olive.svg Spirit Emblem

"It's been a long time since I've added a child's face to my collection."
— Koh to Aang.[1]

Physical description


Eye color

Changes with face

Hair color

Changes with face

Personal information

Avatar Kuruk

Chronological and political information



Spirit World

First appearance

"The Siege of the North, Part 2"

Last appearance
Voiced by

Erik Todd Dellums

Koh the Face Stealer is one of the most ancient and knowledgeable spirits in all of the Spirit World. Nearly as old as the Ocean and Moon Spirits, he is the only known individual to remember them crossing over to the physical world, taking the form of koi fish. He is a malevolent entity residing under an ancient tree in the Spirit World. Possessing the body of a gigantic centipede-like creature, Koh can change the appearance of his face to that of any in his collection at will by "blinking",[2] and will steal the face of anyone or anything that expresses emotion.


Koh was born to the Mother of Faces thousands of years before the Hundred Year War. He chose the name Koh for himself after becoming distanced from his mother.[3]

When Ummi and Avatar Kuruk were getting married, Koh lured Ummi to the Spirit World, where he stole her face and trapped her forever as punishment for Kuruk's arrogant ways.[4] Kuruk was determined to end Koh's life, but when the two met, the past Avatar could not go through with it as he realized that bringing an end to the spirit would also destroy the love of his life.[5] Despite Kuruk's vindictive actions, Koh himself held no personal grudge against Aang, as he was a different incarnation of the Avatar.[1]

During the Hundred Year War, Koh stole the face of a young Northern Water Tribe citizen, Rafa, though Koh's mother later gave the young man a new face.[3]

Koh yells at Aang

When Aang came to Koh, seeking information about Tui and La, the ancient spirit tried, but failed, to steal the young Avatar's face.

Aang appealed to Koh for information regarding the Moon and Ocean Spirits, Tui and La, where Koh warned the Avatar of impending danger the spirits faced. When Aang asked for their location in the mortal world, the old spirit did not provide a clear answer and merely stated that they were opposites, forever revolving. When he told Aang that he had already met the spirits, the Face Stealer barely missed Aang's expression of epiphany when he realized that the identities of Tui and La were the koi fish in the Spirit Oasis.

Before Aang left, Koh stated they would meet again,[1] which they did when Aang found himself in the Spirit World after being struck by Azula's lightning in the Crystal Catacombs of Old Ba Sing Se. During that encounter, Koh attempted to steal the young Avatar's face before he reconciled with the other past Avatars, but failed.[6]


Koh is a perilous force who can be dangerous to meet. He has the ability to steal the face of anyone or anything that shows emotion to him, which is why those who approach him are warned to remain inexpressive while in his presence. He possesses a sadistic personality, constantly trying to goad the slightest bit of emotion out of his visitors by frightening them with his monster-like appearance, or taunting them with his many faces.

However, Koh's actions suggest he was amoral rather than purely evil. He stole Ummi's face to punish Avatar Kuruk for his arrogance, but willingly told Aang the location of the Moon and Ocean Spirits and the danger they were in, and led him to his past Avatar lives. He is cryptic and often speaks in riddles.

Koh's faces

Koh's faces

Koh has stolen a number of faces with various characteristics.

These are some of the millions of faces stolen by Koh.[2] They are listed as they appear in the picture, from left to right.

  • A female Noh mask, a white face with red lips and gray eye markings. This was the face that Koh wore most often.
  • A curly-tailed blue nose face from the faceless monkey Aang noticed outside Koh's lair.[7]
  • Ummi, a Southern Water Tribe woman with long wavy brown hair and brown eyes, who was the fiancée of Avatar Kuruk.
  • A bearded and mustached man's face. This is based upon another Noh mask. 
  • An owl's face with light brown feathers and emerald green eyes.
  • A blue oni face, reminiscent of the Blue Spirit mask worn by Zuko. Koh shifted to this face when expressing extreme emotion.
  • An old man's face with a white mustache and blue eyes. This is another mask used in Noh theater.
  • A young man's face with brown hair and gray eyes. He was a Fire Nation soldier.[2]


Mother of Faces


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)

Escape from the Spirit World

Book Three: Fire (火)


  • Koh is not his birth name.[3]
  • Koh stated that he stole Ummi's face "nearly eight or nine hundred years ago", when in actuality Avatar Kuruk lived only about four hundred years before.
  • Even after Koh steals an individual's or animal's face, the creature still survives, as seen with a monkey who was still outside Koh's lair despite losing its face. This also holds true for beings in the human world (such as Rafa), though they will enter a state "somewhere between life and death" that can persist for years.
  • His name resembles the Japanese word kao (顔, かお), which means "face".
  • Koh's abilities are diametric to his mother's; he has the ability to steal faces, whereas she has the ability to give faces.[8]
  • Legends say that while on strained terms, Koh steals faces as a way to be close to his mother.[3]
  • Gene Yang, who considers Koh to be "one of the best villains ever created," wanted to find a way to include him in The Search due to the trilogy's prevalent theme of faces, thus making him happy to connect Koh with the Mother of Faces.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on (link). No longer updated.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part 3 (October 30, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  4. Escape from the Spirit World: Avatar Kuruk Online Comic Book.
  5. Welcome to Republic City. Nickelodeon (April 6, 2012). Retrieved on April 6, 2012.
  6. Escape from the Spirit World, Chapters 1 – 4.
  7. Avatar Extras for "The Siege of the North, Part 2" on Nicktoons Network.
  8. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part 2 (July 10, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  9. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Library Edition (February 5, 2014), Dark Horse Comics.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Koh

  • Will he and Korra met one day?

    12 messages
    • AvatarReiko wrote: The interesting question Is Would Korra's spirit purfication technique work on a spirit like Koh. He seems vastly different...
    • Depending how Korra functions as the Avatar may affect Koh's appearance in the series. Koh affected Kyoshi's previous incarnation because...
  • How did Avatar Kuruk die?

    25 messages
    • And why couldn't he just simply die of a heart attack or something of the sort? Peaceful times=Lots of food ---> Diabetes, hypertension ...
    • *chokes* That made me laugh perhaps more than it should have done, Hispp XD I doubt we'll ever know, but I imagine it'd be something poetic l...

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