Obby Oss

Here (as part of my colourful folk series) is my interpretation of the Padstow Obby Oss. There’s a few Oss mask images kicking around online so I’ve just taken some bits and pieces and put them together and simplified a little bit. I’m not sure it’s very successful, maybe the lines aren’t straight enough, and I feel now that I should have given it a beard.

The Osses of Padstow whirl through the Cornish town on May Day to usher in the summer. It was possibly the experience of seeing the Oss when I was maybe about thirteen that was one of the early seeds of an interest in folklore for me.

The Osses are a little similar to the Papua New Guinean Eharo masks (I drew one here), which is an observation that has been made by others. Who knows, perhaps both traditions were inspired by the same spiritual forces.

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