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 might lead me to the info I am looking for.  Chris, 1221
A:  Your mask with the strange looking nose can be seen by going to our European file. I remember that the mask shown here was probably done by the same carver. It is on the Europe title page of Masks of the World. I assumed it was from the Austrian or German Alps and would have been used for Fasching celebrations before Lent.

Just when we think that old man winter will never loosen his grip, the time of year when people all over the world join in pre-lenten festivities arrives. Predominantly found in areas with large Catholic populations, this time of year goes by many different names, like Mardi Gras and Carnival. All fundamentally celebrate the same thing, the days leading up to Lent. Observed by most Christian Denominations, Lent is defined as the 40 day period before Easter of penitence and fasting for the believer.

In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, pre-Lenten festivities are known as Fasching, Fastnacht or Karneval, depending on the region. While each area has it’s own traditions and rituals, Fasching is primarily celebrated in Southwest Germany. I wish I could tell you more about these masks, but like yours, they came with no information.

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One Comment

  • Chris

    Thanks, Bob. I will do research with some people and museums and if I get to know who carved my masks or where they were carved, or what they are, I will send to you a pic of the better one of them, with provenance etc. , for your blog. If I don’t find anything, I will also send a pic and we see if someone of our readers knows anything.
    Kind regards,
    Chris

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