TITLE: Fasnet Fratz
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Elzach
ETHNICITY: Swabian (German)
DESCRIPTION: Schuttig Fratz
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: 1970s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; leather straps and hardware

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.

Carnival in Elzach extends back at least to 1530 century, and uses a variety of traditional masks, or larve, such as the longnose (Langnase), fox (Grfrisse), and devil (Teufel).  This specific mask, representing the classic Fratz, meaning rascal or brat, who may appear in brown or black and wears a brightly-colored costume with a large triangular hat, often decorated with snail shells.

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

:

TITLE: Fasnet Langnase Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Elzach
ETHNICITY: Swabian (German)
DESCRIPTION: Langnase Narro
MAKER: Andreas Lang, Elzach (1965- )
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: dyed felt cloth; oil-based 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.

Carnival in Elzach extends back at least to 1530 century, and uses a variety of traditional masks, or larve, such as the rascal (Fratz), fox (Grfrisse), and devil (Teufel).  This specific mask, representing the “Long Nose” clown, was made by the master carver, Andreas Lang.

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

:

TITLE: Bauta Carnival Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
SUBREGION: Venice
ETHNICITY: Italian
DESCRIPTION: Bauta
MAKER: Graziano “Safir” Viale (Lonigo [Vicenza], 1959- )
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: leather
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; hardware

The bauta (“face”) is a classic Venetian carnival mask that covers the top part of the face to allow anonymity without interfering with the masquerader’s ability to speak, drink, or eat.  This is one of the oldest masks used in Venice for Carnival and masquerade balls, and was typically worn with a flowing black costume and a large three-corner hat.

:

TITLE: Busójárás Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Hungary
SUBREGION: Mohács
ETHNICITY: Šokci
DESCRIPTION: Busó
MAKER: György Prókai, Mohács
CEREMONY: Busójárás (Farsang)
AGE: 2016
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: ram horns; sheep’s leather and wool; goat hair; paint

Busójárás is the Hungarian festival held annually in Mohács to celebrate the end of winter. Although the event has a pre-Christian origin as a ritual to frighten away the winter, it has been adapted to coincide with Christian ideology and timed to end with Carnival (Farsang). Masqueraders parade in hooded devil masks of the kind shown here, wearing goat-skin suits and carrying staves or playing traditional folk music.

:

TITLE: Correfoc Diable
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Spain
SUBREGION: Barcelona, Catalonia
ETHNICITY: Catalan
DESCRIPTION: Diable (Devil) Mask
MAKER: Augusto Duch, Barcelona
CEREMONY: Correfoc (Festes de Mercè)
AGE: 2012
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; ribbons

Correfoc (“fire run”) is a Catholic ritual parade performed during the Festes de Mercè (Festival of Our Lady of Mercy) in Barcelona every September. Correfoc, one among the many events of the Mercè, is traditionally celebrated by posting a large sculpture representing the gates of Hell at the end of a major street after sunset, through which the Diable (Devil) enters shooting sparks from his pitchfork, along with an army of lesser devils doing the same. The flying sparks create a spectacle that is entrancing, but slightly perilous to the nearby crowd. Accompanying the devil army are fiberglass floats of hellish monsters with spark-throwers of their own. The event is undoubtedly calculated to instill a fear of Hell in the spectators.

:



Link to a video by Guy de Angelis documenting the entire process of making the Gille mask (in French).

TITLE: Gille de Binche
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Belgium
SUBREGION: Binche
ETHNICITY: Walloon
DESCRIPTION: Gille
MAKER: Jean-Luc Pourbaix (Binche, 1945[?]- ) & Christophe Pourbaix (Binche, 1966-2018)
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: cloth
OTHER MATERIALS: wax; paint; elastic strap

In Binche, Belgium, an unusual Carnival tradition emerged in approximately the 14th century, featuring (among others) masqueraders known as Gille. Gille is an elaborately dressed bourgeois with a hunched back. Most modern Gilles wear a mask, held to the head with elastic straps and a white cloth, and sporting a distinctive blond “Napoleon III” mustache with green glasses, suggesting a scholar.  The mask is thought to date to the 1860s, and it was formerly made in Germany. After the Second World War, the mask was manufactured in France using a hat press over a sculpted mold, until Jean-Luc Pourbaix began making them locally in Binche in 1976.

The costume is a suit of grey cloth, elaborately embroidered with insignias and designs in black, red, and yellow, and with a heavily padded back. The masqueraders also wear a white cloth cowl with a lace or tasseled fringe, a belt of small bells, and wooden clogs with lace spats. Crowds of Gilles parade in large groups to drum beats, carrying sticks to drive away evil spirits. Later, they appear in hats with giant ostrich plumes, carrying baskets of oranges for throwing to (or at) the parade audience as a token of good luck.

In the past, similar masks and costumes were worn by Carnival celebrants in other towns of Wallonia, with slight differences in appearance. In Nivelles, for example, the mask worn by the Société de l’Argayon had a more elaborate beard and no glasses, but was otherwise similar. It is no longer widely worn outside of Binche.

:

TITLE: Sardinian Issohadore
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
SUBREGION: Mamoiada, Sardinia
ETHNICITY: Italian (Sardinian)
DESCRIPTION: Issohadore
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: Commedia dell’Arte Pantalone
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
ETHNICITY: Italian
DESCRIPTION: Don Pantalone Mask
MAKER: Alan G. Newman, Ubud, Bali (b. London, England)
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.

Don Pantalone was long among the most popular stock characters of the Commedia. Pantalone is a money-grubbing business man, now old and retired, and apt to fall absurdly in love with young women.

This specific Pantalone 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: Fasnet Gschell Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Rottweil
ETHNICITY: Swabian (German)
DESCRIPTION: Gschell Narro
MAKER: Helmut Kramer
CEREMONY: Fasnet (Carnival)
AGE: ca. 1970s-1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil paint; horsehair; satin ribbons; mirrors

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 Gschell—the smiling, childlike clownis probably the oldest and most dominant character of Fasnet in 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). In the past, they also wore three fox tails on their hood, a practice that has been fortunately discontinued with increasing enlightenment about animal rights, and sausages on his wrist as a symbol of fertility. The Gschell also wears a horsehair wig (Rosshaarkranz) with ribbons and mirrors to satirize vanity.

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

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

:

TITLE: Volto Carnival Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Italy
SUBREGION: Venice
ETHNICITY: Italian
DESCRIPTION: Volto
MAKER: Carta Alta, Venice
CEREMONY: Carnival
AGE: 2011
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.

: