TITLE: Austrian Perchtenmaske
TYPE: helmet mask
GENERAL REGION: Europe
COUNTRY: Austria
ETHNICITY: Tyrolean
DESCRIPTION: Alte Frau (Old Woman) Perchtenmaske (Krampus Mask)
MAKER: Josef “Sepp” Seidl, Sankt Veit im Pongau (1975- )
CEREMONY: Perchtenlauf
AGE: 2013
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: paint; cloth headscarf; horse hair; leather; foam padding; mesh

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.

Although this mask is technically a Perchte mask, the character resembles a Hexe (witch) and is the companion to the old man Krampus made by the same artist, Sepp Seidl.