TITLE: Austrian Perchtenmaske
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Austria
SUBREGION: Vorarlberg
ETHNICITY: Tyrolean
DESCRIPTION: Perchtenmaske (Krampus Mask)
CATALOG ID: EUAT005
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Perchtenlauf
AGE: ca. 1910
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: Ziegenbock horns; paint

Perchtenlauf is a Tyrolean winter festival equivalent to the old Norse Yule.  In many parts of Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, in mid-December the town organizes a parade of Perchten, or demons who represent evil spirits (known in Germany as Krampus).  The Perchten wear frightening horned masks with sharp teeth and long, lolling tongues, typically in a suit of goat skin with loud cowbells attached to their belt.  Their function is to accompanying St. Nicholas, who reward good children with treats and presents, while the Perchten punish bad children by beating them with birch switches or throwing them into wicker baskets on their backs to carry down to Hell for punishment.

:

TITLE: Fasnet Witch
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Swabia
ETHNICITY: Swabian
DESCRIPTION: Witch Mask
CATALOG ID: EUDE001
MAKER: Edgar Spiegelhalter (March-Hugstetten, 1952- )
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: linden wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

In many parts of Swabia and Bavaria, Carnival (usually called Fasnet or Fastnet in this region of Germany) is celebrated with parades of masked clowns (Narren).  The clown parade (NarrenlaufenNarrensprung or Narrenzunft) is organized by guilds, all members of which wear similar kinds of costumes and masks.  Each town has its own guilds, with some overlap in styles of Narro.  Their purpose is to usher in the spring with joy and laughter.

Some carnival masks are not part of Narro guilds, but are unique to the individual wearing them.  This specific mask was made by master carver Edgar Spiegelhalter of Freiburg.  It represents a classic version of the Tyrolean witch (Hexe) character.

Regrettably, the best texts on Carnival in Bavaria and Swabia are still available in German only: Heinz Wintermantel’s Hoorig, hoorig isch die Katz (Würzburg: Konrad Theiss, 1978) and Dick Eckert’s Die Werdenfelser Fasnacht und ihre Larven (Volk Verlag München, 2015).

:

TITLE: Sardinian Mamuthone
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
SUBREGION: Mamoiada, Sardinia
ETHNICITY: Italian (Sardinian)
DESCRIPTION: Mamuthone mask
CATALOG ID: EUIT008
MAKER: Ruggero Mameli (Mamoiada, 1954- )
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2010
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint; leather straps; metal hardware

The people of Sardinia celebrate Carnival with a unique tradition whose origin is the subject of much debate. Most participants in the Carnival parade in the region of Mamoiada wear costumes and masks of one of two characters: the Issohadore and Mamuthone. The Issohadores dress in a bright military costume and wear a white mask. Soha in Sardinian means “lasso,” which is what the Issohadores carry to encircle and abduct young women in the crowd while they guard the troop of black-masked Mamuthones. Some hypothesize that the Issohadore represents the Spanish conqueror of Sardinia in 1717, and the Mamuthones represent the oppressed Sardinian peasantry. Although the Carnival tradition seems to be much older, it may have been shaped by these historical events.

:

TITLE: Fasnet Witch
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Swabia
ETHNICITY: Swabian
DESCRIPTION: Forest witch mask
CATALOG ID: EUDE004
MAKER: Josef-Christian Albl (Oberammergau, 1955- )
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: linden wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; lacquer

In many parts of Swabia and Bavaria, Carnival (usually called Fasnet or Fastnet in this region of Germany) is celebrated with parades of masked clowns (Narren).  The clown parade (NarrenlaufenNarrensprung or Narrenzunft) is organized by guilds, all members of which wear similar kinds of costumes and masks.  Each town has its own guilds, with some overlap in styles of Narro.  Their purpose is to usher in the spring with joy and laughter.

Some carnival masks are not part of Narro guilds, but are unique to the individual wearing them.  This specific mask was made by master carver Josef Albl, who traces his remarkable family history of wood carvers back to 1556.  It represents a slightly comical version of the classic Tyrolean witch character.

Regrettably, the best texts on Carnival in Bavaria and Swabia are still available in German only: Heinz Wintermantel’s Hoorig, hoorig isch die Katz (Würzburg: Konrad Theiss, 1978) and Dick Eckert’s Die Werdenfelser Fasnacht und ihre Larven (Volk Verlag München, 2015).

:

TITLE: Fasnet Witch
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Austria
ETHNICITY: Tyrolean
DESCRIPTION: Hexe (witch) mask
CATALOG ID: EUAT008
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: Swiss stone pine wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint

Carnival (Fasnet) is celebrated throughout the Tyrol (southern Germany, western Austria, Switzerland and northern Italy) with masked parades and merry making. Among the popular characters are animals, clowns, drunkards, and witches.  Witch masks could also be used during Krampuslauf or Perchtenlauf, the traditional mid-winter parade of demons accompanying Saint Nicholaus.  This mask was made by a master carver with a traditional Tyrolean conception of a witch.

Regrettably, the best text on Tyrolean Carnival is still available in German only: Heinz Wintermantel’s Hoorig, hoorig isch die Katz (Würzburg: Konrad Theiss, 1978).

:

TITLE: Fasnet Biss Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Rottweil
ETHNICITY: Swabian (German)
DESCRIPTION: Biss Narro (clown) mask
CATALOG ID: EUDE005
MAKER: Helmut Kramer (Rottweil, 1931-2016)
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: 1999
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil paint; horsehair; satin ribbons; mirrors; metal buttons

In many parts of Swabia and Bavaria, Carnival (usually called Fasnet or Fastnet in this region of Germany) is celebrated with parades of masked clowns (Narren).  The clown parade (Narrensprung) is organized by guilds, all members of which wear similar costumes and masks.  Each town has its own guilds, with some overlap in styles of Narro.  Like this one, most are creepy in an inimitably Germanic way. Their purpose is to usher in the spring with joy and laughter.

Carnival in Rottweil extends back at least to the 14th century, and the Biss is a longstanding character in the Fasnet of Rottweil. They appear in white linen costumes with as many as six leather belts holding large bells, which he makes ring by walking with a bouncy step (Jucken). The Biss also wears a horsehair wig (Rosshaarkranz) with ribbons and mirrors to satirize vanity, and frequently has a small feathered hat on top.

This specific mask was carved by the late master, Helmut Kramer of Rottweil.

Regrettably, the best texts on Carnival in Bavaria and Swabia are still available in German only: Heinz Wintermantel’s Hoorig, hoorig isch die Katz (Würzburg: Konrad Theiss, 1978) and Dick Eckert’s Die Werdenfelser Fasnacht und ihre Larven (Volk Verlag München, 2015).

:

TITLE: Commedia dell’Arte Capitano
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
ETHNICITY: Italian
DESCRIPTION: Capitano Cocodrillo (Captain Crocodile) mask
CATALOG ID: EUIT003
MAKER: Alan G. Newman (London, England, 1951- )
CEREMONY: Commedia dell’Arte; Carnival
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: leather
OTHER MATERIALS: pigment; goat hair; elastic strap

The Commedia dell’Arte was a form of public entertainment that succeeded the classical Roman theater in Italy.  Like classical theater, Commedia performers wore leather masks to represent stock characters and often performed in amphitheaters to large audiences.  However, the Commedia differed in having only a very basic plot sketch, with most of the lines invented extemporaneously by the actors.  The Commedia‘s ability to stay topical and its frequent resort to vulgar humor, combined with the considerable talent of Italian troupes that traveled throughout Europe, made this form of theater extremely popular throughout the early 17th to late 19th centuries. Masked actors had to compensate for their inability to convey facial emotion through posture, gesture, and vocal nuance.

The Capitani were long among the most popular stock characters of the Commedia. Different acting troupes used different captains.  They all had comical or evocative names, such as Spavento della Valle Inferna (Captain Fear of Hell’s Valley), Matamoros (Captain Moor-Killer), or Sangue y Fuego (Captain Blood-and-Fire).  The captain masks were originally flesh-colored, with a menacing nose to represent a bullying personality.

This specific Capitano represents Cocodrillo (Crocodile) and comes from classically trained mask maker Alan G. Newman.

To learn more about Commedia dell’Arte, see Pierre Louis Duchartre, The Italian Comedy (Dover Pubs., 1966).

:

TITLE: Užgavėnės Jew Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Lithuania
SUBREGION: Vilnius
ETHNICITY: Lithuanian
DESCRIPTION: Jew (Judėjas) Mask
CATALOG ID: EULT001
MAKER: Padare K. Cleminis (Vilnius)
CEREMONY: Užgavėnės (Carnival)
AGE: 2007
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: plant fiber; leather; copper; copper coin; wire; deer antler; dye

Užgavėnės is the Lithuanian festival held before Lent, much like Carnival in other parts of Europe and, also like Carnival, originating in pre-Christian animist rituals. It begins the night before Ash Wednesday, when an effigy representing Winter (Morė) is cast onto a bonfire. In addition, a fight is staged between a character personifying winter (Lašininis) and a character personifying spring (Kanapinis). Obviously, spring prevails.  Masqueraders dance and parade in costumes representing devils, witches, animals, the Grim Reaper, and other characters.

An unfortunate aspect of the celebration is that popular characters include racist stereotypes of Jews and Roma peoples (“Gypsies”). This mask represents a particularly offensive portrayal of a Jew (Judėjas), with an oversized nose, money (oddly, an 1891 Russian 3 kopek coin) nailed to his cheek to represent greed, and an antler carved into the shape of a horn attached, possibly to represent a connection to the Devil. Enlightened Lithuanians have increasingly called for the abolition of traditional racist characters in Carnival.

:

TITLE: Volto Carnival Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
SUBREGION: Venice
ETHNICITY: Italian
DESCRIPTION: Volto (plain face) mask with brown and gold schacchi design
CATALOG ID: EUIT015
MAKER: Carta Alta, Venice
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 1988
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; ribbon

The volto (“face”) is a classic Venetian Carnival mask that covers the entire face for maximum anonymity. The lack of an opening, like the bauta mask, makes it appear more natural but less functional, as the masquerader must remove the mask for eating and drinking, and speaking is obstructed by the lack of a mouth opening.

:

TITLE: Fasnet “Sepp” Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Oberammergau
ETHNICITY: Swabian
DESCRIPTION: “Sepp” Character Mask
CATALOG ID: EUDE002
MAKER: Josef-Christian Albl (Oberammergau, 1955- )
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: linden wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint

In many parts of Swabia and Bavaria, Carnival (usually called Fasnet, Fastnet, or Fasnacht in this region of Germany) is celebrated with parades of masked clowns (Narren).  The clown parade (NarrenlaufenNarrensprung or Narrenzunft) is organized by guilds, all members of which wear similar kinds of costumes and masks.  Each town has its own guilds, with some overlap in styles of Narro.  Their purpose is to usher in the spring with joy and laughter.

Some carnival masks are not part of Narro guilds, but are unique to the individual wearing them.  This specific mask was made by master carver Josef Albl, who traces his remarkable family history of wood carvers back to 1556.  It represents a character invented by Albl with a slightly comical expression.

Regrettably, the best texts on Carnival in Bavaria and Swabia are still available in German only: Heinz Wintermantel’s Hoorig, hoorig isch die Katz (Würzburg: Konrad Theiss, 1978) and Dick Eckert’s Die Werdenfelser Fasnacht und ihre Larven (Volk Verlag München, 2015).

: