Europe

Old European mask?

Q: I bought this mask as a “Perchtenmaske” on Ebay, but I think it´s not European. Its made of leather and the nose and the eyes are wooden. Maybe you can give me some information. Peter, 1663

A: After studying your photos I think you might have an old, used artifact that could be worth a lot of money. It certainly looks authentic. But where is it really from?

Perchten is an ancient pagan festival meant to drive out the devils of winter in early December with a Perchtenlauf or parade of these devil like creatures through the center of Austrian villages. Yours also might be a type I have seen from Switzerland that are called Roitschaeggaetae masks. I tried to find more pictures of both on Google images and could not find a match.

So the mask could come from someplace other than Europe. Maybe Asia or Latin America. I hope one of our viewers will recognize it and leave a comment.

One Comment

  • Aaron

    This is definitely old and authentic. It could be either of two things. One is an old Kolam dance-drama mask from Sri Lanka. There is a character that resembles an old man with a huge, soft cloth or leather mouth and a bunch of teeth. I’ve never seen a painted nose like that on one, though.

    The second option is a Romanian Capra mask. The Capra is a goat dance performed on New Year’s Eve, and masqueraders dress up as old men (batranul) wearing masks very much like yours. See:

    https://www.maskmuseum.org/mask/romania-goat-1/

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