Art from the forests and mountains

Austrian folk mask
Austrian folk mask

Q:  I just bought this Austrian Mask for a great price.  Its not the 3rd or 4th German/Austrian mask that I’ve owned, that is carved in detail, carved to ergonomically be worn (such as the nose recess), yet has no holes, strings, or otherwise showing that its been used or was ever going to be used. Do you know why that is? Are they art first and wearable masks second? Left to the owner to attach strings themselves?  I find that odd.  Nathan, 654

A:  Folk masks have been carved in Southern Germany, Switzerland, Northern Italy and Austria for many centuries. And for the last 200 years the area has attracted plenty of wealthy tourists who like to buy these masks as souvenirs. Often they come without straps. Whether for local usage or sale to tourists, carvings quality is very good. Old, used masks are usually snapped up by European collectors.  A-


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