TITLE: Langnasni Carnival Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Unknown
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Langnasni (Longnose) Carnival Mask
CATALOG ID: EUCH014
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (carnival)
AGE: 1950s or 1960s
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: stain; hardware; rawhide

Fasnacht is what the Tyrolean Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different towns have variations on the parade, such as the Schemenlaufen of Imst, the Schellerlaufen of Nassereith, and the Muller and Matschgerer of Innsbruck, Austria.

Little is known about this mask.  It is a classic Langnasni (“Longnose”) type by an unknown carver, made and worn for Carnival, most probably in the 1950s or 1960s.

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: Basler Carnival Half Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Basel
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Carnival Half-Mask for Fife Player
CATALOG ID: EUCH004
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 1990s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; elastic band; hardware; dyed cotton cap

Fasnacht is what the Tyrolean Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different towns have variations on the parade, such as the Schemenlaufen of Imst, the Schellerlaufen of Nassereith, and the Muller and Matschgerer of Innsbruck, Austria.

In Basel, Switzerland, masks are almost all made of paper maché and take a helmet form. Armies of costumed clowns, musicians, and dancers, called cliques, parade around town in uniform mask styles for 72 nearly continuous hours on the Monday following Ash Wednesday. The paraders must wear their Larven (masks) throughout the parade and are expected never to remove the mask in order to identify themselves.  They throw confetti at crowd members with such proliferation that it blankets the streets.

Although there is a great deal of innovation and creativity in mask styles, there are certain styles that tend to reappear annually. This mask, known as Waggis, represents a big-nosed, frizzy-haired clown, who wears wooden clogs, a blue shirt, and a red neckerchief. He is a prankster who parodies the Alsatian farmers who formerly came to Basel market days to sell their produce (Waggis literally means a person from Alsace in Basel dialect). Other common characters include the Alti Dante (old aunt), Dummbeeter (trumpetist) and Pierrot (a sad clown from the late Italian Commedia dell’Arte, known for his white and black makeup).

This specific mask was made for and used by a fife player in one of the roaming bands. Half masks are common among wind instrument musicians who need to access their instruments with their mouths.

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TITLE: Waggis Carnival Mask
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Basel
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Waggis (Alsation) Carnival Helmet Mask of Convict
CATALOG ID: EUCH003
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 1980s
MAIN MATERIAL: paper maché
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; plastic hair; wool hat

Fasnacht is what the Tyrolean Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different towns have variations on the parade, such as the Schemenlaufen of Imst, the Schellerlaufen of Nassereith, and the Muller and Matschgerer of Innsbruck, Austria.

In Basel, Switzerland, masks are almost all made of paper maché and take a helmet form. Armies of costumed clowns, musicians, and dancers, called cliques, parade around town in uniform mask styles for 72 nearly continuous hours on the Monday following Ash Wednesday. The paraders must wear their Larven (masks) throughout the parade and are expected never to remove the mask in order to identify themselves.  They throw confetti at crowd members with such proliferation that it blankets the streets.

Although there is a great deal of innovation and creativity in mask styles, there are certain styles that tend to reappear annually. This mask, known as Waggis, represents a big-nosed, frizzy-haired clown, who wears wooden clogs, a blue shirt, and a red neckerchief. He is a prankster who parodies the Alsatian farmers who formerly came to Basel market days to sell their produce (Waggis literally means a person from Alsace in Basel dialect). Other common characters include the Alti Dante (old aunt), Dummbeeter (trumpetist) and Pierrot (a sad clown from the late Italian Commedia dell’Arte, known for his white and black makeup).

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TITLE: Carnival Wöschwyb
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Lucerne
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Wöschwyb (Washwoman) Mask
CATALOG ID: EUCH010
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: Carnival Fright Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Lucerne
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Schreckmaske (Fright Mask)
CATALOG ID: EUCH015
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: Silvesterklaus
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Appenzell Ausserrhoden
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Schöne Silvesterklaus Mask
CATALOG ID: EUCH002
MAKER: Verena Steiger (Steinen, Schwyz, 1955- )
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 folk masks of the Alps, see Claus Hansmann, Masken Schemen Larven: Volksmasken der Alpenländer (Munich: Verlag F. Bruckmann, 1959).

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TITLE: Carnival Character
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Lucerne
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Character Mask
CATALOG ID: EUCH011
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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TITLE: Flums Carnival Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Flums
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Chrottni Mask
CATALOG ID: EUCH007
MAKER: Margrit Stoop (Flums, 1926-?)
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (carnival)
AGE: 1974
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; dyed burlap

Fasnacht is what the Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different towns have variations on the parade, such as the Schemenlaufen of Imst, the Schellerlaufen of Nassereith, and the Muller and Matschgerer of Innsbruck, Austria.  In Flums, carnival masks have a distinctive pear shape and tend to have a satirical purpose. The Flums style has been highly influential in neighboring villages.

This mask is a character known in the local dialect as Chrottni, a masculine looking woman who has been suggested to represent a hermaphrodite.  The name probably derives from the word Kröte, a toad.  Local legend has it that Chrottni lampoons a postman’s wife, who always knew everyone’s business before they themselves did, because she secretly opened the mail.  The type was developed around 1840, and different carvers in Flums give it variants on its expression.  Among the five most common expressions, this one is said to represent a Mona Lisa-type smile.

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 Character
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Lucerne
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Character Mask
CATALOG ID: EUCH012
MAKER: Toni Meier (Kriens, 1941- )
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (Carnival)
AGE: 2011
MAIN MATERIAL: linden wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; lacquer; dyed cotton cap

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: Flums Carnival Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Switzerland
SUBREGION: Flums
ETHNICITY: Swiss
DESCRIPTION: Alte Frau (Old Woman) Mask
CATALOG ID: EUCH008
MAKER: Marcus DeFlorin (Flums, 1959- )
CEREMONY: Fasnacht (carnival)
AGE: 2011
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; wool hair; cloth

Fasnacht is what the Tyrolean Swiss call Carnival.  In many towns in Austria, southern Germany, Switzerland, and northern Italy, local folk don elaborate masks and costumes to parade through the town.  Different towns have variations on the parade, such as the Schemenlaufen of Imst, the Schellerlaufen of Nassereith, and the Muller and Matschgerer of Innsbruck, Austria.

In Flums, carnival masks have a distinctive pear shape and tend to have a satirical purpose. The Flums style has been highly influential in neighboring villages.

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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