If you want to see the devil in person- come to the Ahrntal Valley!
Earlier, when Tyrol was not divided into three parts, many peasants of the Aurina valley had wonderful mountain pastures on the northern side of the Zillertal Alps where they brought the livestock in the summer months. It was the function of the shepherds to guard them. This was quite a boring job, so each shepherd tried to pass the time with games and different activities. Every shepherd had a jack knife and so it was quite logical that they began to carve figures and especially grimaces in wood and roots.In autumn these carvings were brought home and found their place in the parlour.
In this way, the art became more and more popular and the shepherds and peasants began to carve also during the winter months.Masks were carved with faces of witches, devils and the sun. The carved sun has become part of fashion and all Ahrn Valley publicity carry it as a trademark or seal of this natural and original holiday region. This carved symbol is very popular and much asked for. Particularly, the farming community concentrates greatly on the carving of marks.
The 80-year old "Motzile"peasant Hermann Reichegger maintains that while carving a devil's mask, he saw the devil in person and this would be the reason why he knows exactly what the devil looks like. In fact, his masks are really particular. With the passing of time, wood carving has become more and more refined, thanks also to the opening of the wood carving school in St. Jakob.Nowadays, in every village you will find a wood crafter where it is possible to buy some of his creations.