Europe

Witch mask from Germany

Q:  This isn’t a mystery mask, but I thought it was a nice find for $27. It’s a German Hexe mask, I believe from Offenburg. The mask itself is about 13″H and it has an attached scarf, which drapes over a wire frame that’s attached to the mask.  Dan, 1341

At the beginning of the thirties the first witches appeared in the organized Swabian-Alemannic Fasnet. They were the Offenburg witches, who were officially founded on Epiphany in 1936. Unlike the rather deliberate fool, the witch is a figure with whom one can do a lot. Witches are free, they can climb, can make Radau, build pyramids and annoy the spectators. This is also noticeable in the newer guilds when they start a group of witches. People come in droves and they are becoming very popular. Maybe too much so. How do you react?  Dan, 1341

A:  I have never seen a Fasnacht celebration so I can’t comment on whether more witches are needed. But I can tell your mask was a good deal. You got a fine piece of authentic folk art for a bargain price.  A

One Comment

  • Chris

    Hi there. I can indeed tell you that more witches are not needed at all. Witch group have spread all over the German speaking regions of southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland. There are not few people who think that there are too many of them, nowadays. However, you are right: They always bring joy and spectacle to the Fasnet streets, so, thanks to the witches! Indeed, Dan’s mask is great, and he almost got it for free – we here in Europe would spend quite some money for a new mask like this made by a traditional carver. It is a very nice, typical example of a good-quality Fasnet mask from south-west Germany. It is usually carved from limewood, quite large and sturdy, and painted with thin colours, letting shine through the actual wood structure and not too much sand-papered. I recently purchased a quite similar type of mask from another group of that region. When I found out who carved it, I will send in some pics.

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