TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: Romeu Jorge Fernandes (Ousilhão, Vinhais, 1988- )
CEREMONY: Festa de Santo Estevão
PURPOSE: Adult Initiation; Celebration
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: mulberry wood
OTHER MATERIALS: N/A

The caretos of the tiny village of Ousilhão, in the Vinhais township of Bragança, wear their masks not at Carnival, but during a winter festival in honor of the patron saint of the village, St. Steven (Santo Estevão). This festival is also known as the Festa dos Rapazes (Festival of the Boys), because it serves as an adult initiation ceremony for pubescent boys. The celebration is held on December 25-26 each year, and begins when the village priest symbolically crowns three men in the village square as a king and two vassals. These individuals are responsible for supplying the food and drink in the festivities to follow.

The ceremony that follows involves four masqueraders (historically men, but now women participate as well) bringing boys to the feast wearing demonic masks (caretos) and colorful, cloth costumes. Before and during the feasting and drinking, the masqueraders will sing and dance to the music of bagpipes (gaita de foles), castanets, and drums. Their goal is to make the initiates thoroughly drunk.

Afterward, unmasked villagers carry the image of St. Steven to the village church. The masked characters, being both demonic and drunk, are not allowed to enter the church.

This mask was carved by Romeu Jorge, a military policeman who has been carving the masks since the age of 12.

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Lamego
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: Albino Neves (Lazarím)
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2015
MAIN MATERIAL: alder wood
OTHER MATERIALS: elastic straps

The residents of the small town of Lazarím, Portugal, claim that their Carnival is the most authentic in Portugal and dates back to the Celtic invasions from central Europe in the first millennium BCE. The participants begin with a walk from Lamego to Lazarím or a town parade, dressed in costumes and masks made of natural materials such as burlap, wicker, pine boughs, or dried grass. The masks are usually hand-carved of wood and uncolored. They most commonly represent devils, but they may also represent animals, kings, or (in this case) Jesus of Nazareth himself. The parade is accompanied by a band of drums and percussion instruments.

After the parade, a young man and woman designated to carry paper maché effigies of a compadre and comadre assemble the village in the square and read out a list of the embarrassing acts of the villagers during the preceding year, to the amusement of all. The shamed individuals are then redeemed by the symbolic burning of the effigies. The villagers then share a feast of bean and meat stew cooking in a large cauldron in the square.  Masqueraders frequently play pranks throughout Fat Sunday and Fat Tuesday.

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: António Alves (Varges, Bragança, 1949- )
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: aluminum sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: goat horns; enamel paint

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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TITLE: Careto
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Portugal
SUBREGION: Bragança
ETHNICITY: Iberian
DESCRIPTION: Careto
MAKER: Oscar Barros (Bragança)
CEREMONY: Entrudo (Carnival)
AGE: 2015
MAIN MATERIAL: steel sheet
OTHER MATERIALS: enamel paint

In Bragança, Portugal, Carnival (frequently called Entrudo) masks may be composed of a wide variety of materials, most commonly metal, leather, wood, cork, or escrinho (woven straw). Such masks typically have devilish features, representing the freedom enjoyed by the celebrant that would be considered sinful, or at least socially unacceptable, at other times of the year. Carnival is the Shrovetide season of maximal social freedom prior to the Catholic fasting season of Lent. In Catholic countries such as Portugal, parties, parades, feasting, and cultural events are commonly organized during the Carnival season, primarily on “Fat Sunday” and “Fat Tuesday.”

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TITLE: Carnival Wöschwyb
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Lucerne
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Wöschwyb (Washwoman) Mask
MAKER: Toni Meier, Kriens (1941- )
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: linden wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; lacquer; dyed cloth

Fasnacht is what the Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Switzerland, Austria, southern Germany, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different Swiss towns have variations on the parade, such as Fasnacht of Basel, the Tschäggättä of Lötschental, or the Rabadan of Bellinzona.

Although traditional masked Carnival is no longer celebrated in most of Lucerne, in the town of Kriens, masquerade using masks called Muur or Hübeli still plays a role. Two types of masked are typically used in this region, satirical character masks such as this one, which can represent either sex. Character masks come in many different types, such as the Wöschwyb (washerwoman) and Alter (old man). The other type are Schreckmasken (fright masks) representing scary men, known as the Krienser Deckel (Kriens head) and Buuremaa (farmer).

Unfortunately, the best book on Swiss masking traditions is available in German only: Albert Bärtsch, Holzmasken: Fasnachts- und Maskenbrauchtum in der Schweiz, in Süddeutschland und Österreich (AT Verlag 1993).

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TITLE: Bull Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Barcelona, Catalonia
ETHNICITY: Catalan
DESCRIPTION: Toro (Bull) Mask
MAKER: Augusto Duch, Barcelona
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; ribbons; wire mesh

Carnival is celebrated throughout Catholic Europe with parades and other festivities, often including masqueraders. For centuries, Spaniards venerated the ritual of bullfighting, inherited from Roman gladiator contests, and it is still practiced in parts of Spain. Although several regions, including Catalonia since 2012, has banned it as unnecessary cruelty to animals. Nonetheless, the symbol of the bull survives as part of Spanish culture and tradition. The bull is consequently a popular character in Spanish Carnival due to its association with virility and strength.

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TITLE: Carnival Fright Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Lucerne
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Schreckmaske (Fright Mask)
MAKER: Toni Meier, Kriens (1941- )
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 2017
MAIN MATERIAL: linden wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; lacquer

Fasnacht is what the Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Switzerland, Austria, southern Germany, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different Swiss towns have variations on the parade, such as Fasnacht of Basel, the Tschäggättä of Lötschental, or the Rabadan of Bellinzona.

Although traditional masked Carnival is no longer celebrated in most of Lucerne, in the town of Kriens, masquerade using masks called Muur or Hübeli still plays a role. Two types of masked are typically used in this region, satirical character masks which can represent either sex. Character masks come in many different types, such as the Wöschwyb (washerwoman) and Alter (old man). The other type are Schreckmasken (fright masks) representing scary men, known as the Krienser Deckel (Kriens head) and Buuremaa (farmer). This mask is a typical Kriens fright mask.

Unfortunately, the best book on Swiss masking traditions is available in German only: Albert Bärtsch, Holzmasken: Fasnachts- und Maskenbrauchtum in der Schweiz, in Süddeutschland und Österreich (AT Verlag 1993).

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TITLE: Carnival Fantasy Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
SUBREGION: Venice
ETHNICITY: Italian
DESCRIPTION: Moon Mask
MAKER: Carta Alta, Venice
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: early 2000s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: macrame; paint; rhinestones; ribbon

During Carnival in Venice, masqueraders wear a variety of both classical and novelty masks. This mask falls in the latter category. It is made to resemble the moon and can be worn by masqueraders of either sex. By not covering the whole face, masks such as this one allow the wearer unimpeded speech and the option of eating and drinking without unmasking.

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TITLE: Silvesterklaus
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Appenzell Ausserrhoden
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Schöne Silvesterklaus Mask
MAKER: Verena Steiger, Urnäsch
CEREMONY: St. Sylvester’s Day (New Year’s Eve)
AGE: 1990
MAIN MATERIAL: cloth; wax
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; metal o-rings

On New Year’s Eve on both the Gregorian (December 31) and Julian (January 13) calendars, Appenzell Canton, Switzerland, sees yodeling mummers pass through the town wearing masks and elaborate costumes in honor of Saint Sylvester. The costume includes large bells and a headdress, although the appearance of the mummers varies. There are three types of Chlausen: schöne (pretty), schö-wüeschte (pretty-ugly), and wüeschte (ugly). This mask represents a schöne, and would be worn with an elaborate headdress with scenes of peasant life and a traditional Appenzeller costume. The ugly masks are skillfully made to look frightening, and the mask and costume are both composed of fir branches and needles, ivy, moss, or other natural materials. Pretty-ugly characters have the schöne mask like this one, but the natural costume of a wüeschte.

For more on traditional Tyrolean folk masks, see Claus Hansmann, Masken Schemen Larven: Volksmasken der Aplenländer (Munich: Verlag F. Bruckmann, 1959).

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TITLE: Carnival Character
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Lucerne
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Character Mask
MAKER: Toni Meier, Kriens (1941- )
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 1975
MAIN MATERIAL: linden wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; lacquer

Fasnacht is what the Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Switzerland, Austria, southern Germany, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different Swiss towns have variations on the parade, such as Fasnacht of Basel, the Tschäggättä of Lötschental, or the Rabadan of Bellinzona.

Although traditional masked Carnival is no longer celebrated in most of Lucerne, in the town of Kriens, masquerade using masks called Muur or Hübeli still plays a role. Two types of masked are typically used in this region, satirical character masks such as this one, which can represent either sex. Character masks come in many different types, such as the Wöschwyb (washerwoman) and Alter (old man). The other type are Schreckmasken (fright masks) representing scary men, known as the Krienser Deckel (Kriens head) and Buuremaa (farmer).

Unfortunately, the best book on Swiss masking traditions is available in German only: Albert Bärtsch, Holzmasken: Fasnachts- und Maskenbrauchtum in der Schweiz, in Süddeutschland und Österreich (AT Verlag 1993).

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