TITLE: Austrian Perchtenmaske
TYPE: face mask
COUNTRY: Austria
SUBREGION: Vorarlberg
DESCRIPTION: Perchtenmaske (Krampus Mask)
MAKER: Unknown
CEREMONY: Perchtenlauf
AGE: ca. 1910
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.