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 group is one of the oldest traditions in this region of central Switzerland. “Das Domino” is most probably coming from masquerade traditions in Venezia and depicts a young woman wearing a black halfmask. A “domino” itself is the long robe which rich, important or religious people wore centuries ago. In Venezia, the story goes that men and women slipped out of their houses covered in long cloth and their face covered in masks in order to have fun in other places (see the pic of an 18th century painting). The character I am sending to you now is somewhat of a mix of all these issues from the past. The Domino“ makes fun of people, gives them oranges and dances together with the other characters of the “Nüssler” group to a somewhat military and quite complex drum rhythm. The drums characters themselves are said to stem from a faraway past when Swiss men went abroad to fight as mercenaries in other armies. So, they brought back military drums and clothes. The mask you see now is carved out of local pear wood from my village. I have carved it on my own. It was days of harsh work, as the type of dark wood is very hard. But its denseness and elasticity makes it a great wood for small, thin, light and resistant masks. The black eye mask on the mask itself is of fine black leather, nailed to the wood with tiny iron nails. Painted with acrylic paint.  Enjoy!  Chris, 1269

One Comment

  • Chris

    If you search the internet for “Innerschwyzer Narrentanz”, you will find the rhythm which belongs to the group. The rhythm varies from village to village, as does the dress of the specific characters of the “Nüssler” group.

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