• Europe

    Masterpiece from Europe

    Q: The Sepp Seidl Krampus mask, the fifth of his I own, is a very special one.  It has taken me four years to get him to sell me a mask with the traditional Steinbock horns instead of domestic goat horns, because the Steinbock ones are more expensive and very popular.  This mask has been used in several Perchtenlaufen over the years, and still has the plastic helmet inside it.  Aaron, 1038 A:  We are always pleased when Aaron shares one of his recent acquisitions with us. This mask is made by one of the best makers in the world. Look at the enlarged photo carefully to appreciate the workmanship.…

  • Europe

    Swiss Butzi by Othmar Klauser

    Chris sent this in. His description is better than I could do, so here it is. The YouTube link at the end is in German. I which I could understand the old carver. I would like to contribute with a mask which I found some time ago on a local internet platform. I knew instantly that it would be a mask from the area around Sargans, eastern Switzerland, as of its style and the characteristic hood attached to the mask. The previous owner had the (unused) mask in her family for a long time, but she did not know much more about it. I managed to find a carver in…

  • Europe

    The scary Buso from Hungary

    Q:  I just returned from a trip where I bought several masks. This one is from Gyorgy Prokai from Mohacs. Unlike my other Buso masks I have aquired, this one has the full sheep’s leather hood and is fairly heavy. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this mask.  Aaron, 1021 A: The Busójárás is an annual celebration of the Croats living in the town of Mohács, Hungary, held at the end of the Carnival season, ending the day before Ash Wednesday. The celebration features Busós (people wearing traditional masks) and includes folk music, masquerading, parades and dancing. We’re always appreciative of the wonderful artifacts you collect and are willing to share…

  • Europe

    European art mask

    Q:  I bought this mask at an estate sale yesterday for $35. The estate sale person knew nothing about its origins or age, but the estate was full of local art items and collectibles. A friend suggested that the eyes of this mask remind her of work by sculptor Enrique Alférez who was Mexican but lived and worked in New Orleans in the 1930s. I’d appreciate any ideas or suggestions. Thanks!  Nancy, 978 A:  This looks almost like a Commedia dell’arte mask and it is very skillfully made. The professional carver could be from anywhere. Wooden masks for carnival and other celebrations are almost always painted. I’m sure this was made to…

  • Europe

    Basket-like mask from Europe

    Q:  Any thoughts about this mask? It is very large and completely woven. I have had it for some time, purchased at a garage sale. Could it be a mask that was used for “the running of the bulls?” Would appreciate any info you can provide.  Mickey, 930 A:  I’ve seen woven masks from all over the world.  Some come from Europe, where bulls and other animals are favorite subjects. I have seen a bull from France that looks exactly like yours. With a little research or a helpful comment, we might be able to identify the village and what kind of celebration it is used for.

  • Europe

    Tschäggättä mask from the Swiss Alps

    Q:  I recently purchased this large old mask from a Canadian gentleman who had no knowledge of it’s origin or history. I’d guess it to be Eastern European, Tyrolean or possibly Swiss, but I’m not entirely certain where it’s from. I’m hoping you, or one of the many collectors who visit your site, may recognize it. It shows signs of use and has holes around the perimeter indicating it may have had a cloth or fur hood at one point. It also has a concave area surrounded by  holes on the back that most likely held padding in place for the comfort of the wearer. It measures approx 14″X 9″,…

  • Europe

    Brighella from the Commedia dell’arte

    Q:   I have been busy today doing a mini masks photo-shoot for you. I am not a professional photographer I hope you don’t mind and if you would like me to retake any pictures of certain masks just ask. I am probably only able to send you a few at a time so get ready for your inbox to be full.  Kathleen, 895 A:  I decided to share this mask with our visitors because it is not something we see often.  Brighella is a male character from the Commedia dell’arte, which  is a form of theater with masked actors. It began in Italy in the 16th century and was responsible…

  • Europe

    Unique to one town in Spain

    Q:  Bob, would you know where I can buy a Cigarron mask and also a Caretos masks, thank you.  Liam, 871 A:  Until your email I had never heard of the Cigarrones. It turns out they are part of an annual festival that is unique to a single town, Verin, in Galicia, Spain. There are many cities and towns all over the world that have special events that utilize masquerade.

  • Europe

    Traditional mask from the Swiss Alps

    Q:  I’ve just picked up this mask from an antique dealer in Paris. Apparently it’s a late 19th century Swiss mask. The teeth appear to be real but I’m not sure, and the hair feels to be human but considering its still attached to hide common sense says its probably horse.  The dimensions of the mask are 30cm X 18cm.  Is there anything you can tell me about it?  PS: my girlfriend has bought me your book for xmas, without my even asking her! A:  This is a Roitschaeggaetae mask from the Loetsch Valley of Wallis Canton in the mountains of Switzerland.

  • Europe

    Traditional folk art from the Alps

    Q: The mask in the photos was purchased at an auction. The husband and wife were both university professors – she taught art and he taught history. They had many South American and American Southwest items. They also had a lot of older Chinese and Japan pieces. We purchased a Thai mask, but this one was intriguing. There was no provenance as there was no family left to validate where this mask was from. The mask measures (measuring from the back side) 9.5″ tall and 7.25″ wide. This does not include the trailing mustache.