• Europe

    Romanian traditional mask

    This Romanian ritualistic mask from Moldova always has an unique appearance of a big beard and long red nose. They’re used over a wide area, from the Banat to Moldavia and from Oltenia to Maramures. The dances are considered the most picturesque events and tourists love them. They are a meaningful component of the folk customs celebrated in villages for the coming of the New Year, funerals, agricultural and hunting rituals.These dances originate from the pre-Christian times when the never ending struggle between good and evil had an impact on everyone. After Dan got his excellent German mask for so little money, I took a look at some other European…

  • Europe

    Witch mask from Germany

    Q:  This isn’t a mystery mask, but I thought it was a nice find for $27. It’s a German Hexe mask, I believe from Offenburg. The mask itself is about 13″H and it has an attached scarf, which drapes over a wire frame that’s attached to the mask.  Dan, 1341 At the beginning of the thirties the first witches appeared in the organized Swabian-Alemannic Fasnet. They were the Offenburg witches, who were officially founded on Epiphany in 1936. Unlike the rather deliberate fool, the witch is a figure with whom one can do a lot. Witches are free, they can climb, can make Radau, build pyramids and annoy the spectators.…

  • Europe

    Tschaggatta mask from Swiss Alps

    Q:  I have had this mask in our family for a long time and recently started to do research on it as the misses no longer can stare at it on the wall.  It seems to be a Swiss Made, LOTSCHENTALER HEIMARBEIT. That is what’s printed on the back.  Seems to match up with some late 19th century masks that were/are worn at a festival in a Swiss Valley.  Any idea as to what era and type of mask this is for sure? Is there any collectible market? Do they have estimated or average values?  Sean, 1319 A:  Called a Tschäggätta, this carved wooden mask of a frightening figure in…

  • Europe,  Misc

    Ntanos Blast Mask

    Lots of us like to wear masks to parties and special occasions. Here’s a line of masks that only cost $6.58 each. You have to buy the material and do the construction yourself. Ntanos furnishes the digital file, PDF and paper pattern. The picture shows my favorite. Go to www.etsy.com for more info about this British creation. Your friends will be impressed with your handiwork.  Bob

  • Europe

    Swiss mask-maker talks about Das Domino

    Chris tells us a lot about the tradition of masquerade in his town. It would be nice if others from the Pacific North West, Japan, Bali, etc. would do the same.  Hi Bob, you are right, Carnival time is coming, or as we say here north of the Alps, Fasnacht, Fasnet or Fasching. I size this opportunity to exclusively present to you and your visitors my own new masquerade for my village’s celebrations. The character is called “das Domino” and it is part of the very traditional masquerade group of the “Nüssler”. You have already some time ago posted another character of the group, the “Blätz” (blog nr 1103). This…

  • Europe

    Carnival time is here

    Carnival time in the Western world goes from Jan 1 to April 1, which is Easter. These kinds of masquerades occur in many villages and cities at different dates, but not in Africa or Asia. I don’t know when or where this particular parade happens in Switzerland. In the United States the principal Carnival celebration is in New Orleans, where the Carnival season opens on Twelfth Night (January 6) and climaxes with the Mardi Gras festivities commencing 10 days before Shrove Tuesday. Other places are different. Thus, in Munich in Bavaria the Carnival season, there called Fasching, begins on the feast of the Epiphany (January 6), while in Cologne in…

  • Europe

    Classic Viennese carnival mask

      Q:  I’m from France. I’ve been passionate about masks since I was 10 years old. I found this Russian mask at a Christmas stand and I would like to know about it’s meaning and story.  Lola A:  Now that you know what it is, go to Google and learn more about your beautiful Italian mask.

  • Europe

    Old masquerade traditions in Portugal

    The Careto tradition is a pre-historical Celtic religious ritual still practiced in some regions of Portugal, namely in the villages of Podence  and Lazarim. It currently takes place during Carnival and is one of the oldest traditions being practiced in Portugal today. Caretos are masked young men dressed in suits made of yellow, red, black, blue and green fringe wool quilts, wearing brass, leather or wooden masks and rattles in their belts. Their masks can vary greatly from village to village.They appear in groups from every corner of the village running and shouting excitedly, frightening the people and “robbing” all the wineries. The main target of these masquerade groups are…

  • Europe

    Fasching mask from the German or Austrian Alps

    Q:  I need your help or advice: you posted time ago a mask in the Europe section, a mask you wondered if it was the Rubenzahl character…(see foto attached). I have recently acquired two devil masks which seem to be from the very same carver. However, I have no info at all on my masks, the seller did not know anything. I suspect them to be from Austria, so called Perchten masks. They might be old, but I am not so sure. So, I need to do research. Do you have any info on your posted mask as of carver, age, origin, link of the posted mask or owner? This…

  • Europe

    Flums Carnival Mask

    Here is a fine European mask recently acquired by Aaron. The following is written by him. COUNTRY: Switzerland SUBREGION: Flums ETHNICITY: Swiss DESCRIPTION: Chrottni Mask 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…