Woman in China wears mask for 10 years, even when eating and sleeping

Candice Cai
Friday, Sep 15, 2017

She's known as the 'masked woman' in her village, but there's a reason why one woman in China hasn't shown her face in 10 years, not even to her husband. 

The woman, identified as Madam Wang, works as a farmer in a village in Hubei, China. Even on hot days working in the field, her head is completely covered by a full mask.

On closer inspection, the pale blue headgear looks to be hand-stitched, with holes and flaps cut out for the eyes, nose and mouth.

According to Chinese media reports, Wang, who's 56, claims to get dizzy without the mask on and does not want her head to be "exposed to wind".

Her husband, Xiao Hongfa, says his wife suffers from schizophrenia, with symptoms appearing in 2007.

During the day, she would go about her household chores and farming activities wearing the mask.

At night, she'll hardly get any rest, choosing to roam around outside the house, says Xiao. She even leaves her mask on while eating.

Xiao had once tried to burn her mask, but she simply sewed a new piece.

Despite her unusual habit, Xiao says his wife is hardworking, gentle and reserved.

"She's also particular about cleanliness and would wash her hair and change her mask once every two days," said Xiao.

The couple have two sons, who've moved out of the village for work.

To better care for his wife, Xiao said he borrowed more than 20,000 yuan (S$4,110) last September to buy 300 chickens, hoping to make a living by selling the livestock. However, customers have been few and far between.

Xiao, also 56, says he hopes to make enough money to treat his wife's illness so that she doesn't have to wear a mask anymore.

According to him, he and his sons have brought Wang to more than four hospitals, but none of the doctors have been able to treat her.