TITLE: Fasnet Biss Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Rottweil
ETHNICITY: Swabian (German)
DESCRIPTION: Biss Narro
MAKER: Helmut Kramer
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 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).

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TITLE: Fasnet “Sepp” Mask
TYPE: mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Germany
SUBREGION: Oberammergau
ETHNICITY: Swabian (German)
DESCRIPTION: “Sepp” Character Mask
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 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 character invented by Albl with a slightly comical expression.

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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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