TITLE: Austrian Perchtenmaske and Costume
TYPE: helmet mask; costume; accessory
GENERAL REGION: Europe
DESCRIPTION: Perchtenmaske (Krampus Mask) and Costume
AGE: 2003 (mask); 2014 (costume)
MAIN MATERIAL (Mask): wood
OTHER MATERIALS (Mask): goat horns; paint; goat fur; rabbit fur; foam rubber; adhesive
MAIN MATERIAL (Costume): goat leather and fur
OTHER MATERIALS (Costume): bronze hardware; bronze bells; birch sticks; cloth; 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.
This complete costume includes a goat leather body suit, gloves with simulated long nails (made of leather), a leather and bronze belt with bronze cowbells, and a birch stick switch for whipping children and other audience members.