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 Lötschental, Valais/Wallis, Switzerland is a favorite tourist souvenir. Despite its small size and flat back, it looks exactly like the real ones that are used at festival time to scare everybody. Probably made in the late 20th century, it is a nice piece of Swiss folk art for the wall. Tell your wife you want to keep it. C

One Comment

  • Chris

    Hello. This is a very common piece made most probalbly between 1970 and 1990 in one of the Lötschental villages. In this era, many village families made a living by carving wall hangings for tourists. Numbers go into the thousands, maybe tens of thousands (sometimes even produced with copying machines). Recently, it has not proved lucrative anymore and so, carving seems to concentrate on the face masks, for the processions. There are a few young carvers nowadays, carving traditional but also fancy masks for wearing. They are hardly sold, as far as I know. if sold, its for quite some money. on Sean’s question on the market: yes, there is a collectible markets for these wall hanging masks, but here in Switzerland they abound so even big and nice pieces hardly reach amounts of over 50 USD in internet sells.

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