So what is it that inspired the Venetians to wear masks in times gone by. I wouldn’t mind betting that it was a cover up for when they were getting up to no good.
Venetian masks have a long and interesting history. Originally citizens of every rank and station wore them so that they could communicated freely and openly with any member of society, without fear of reprisal or recrimination.
It was thought that by hiding a wearer’s identity every party was able to conduct business on an equal level. The lowliest servant could speak with a lord directly and honestly. Of course what starts out as a good idea often has it’s own pitfalls. The Venetian mask was no exception.
While it may have sounded like a good idea at the time the masks quickly became a tool during times of debauchery and promiscuity. It’s simply amazing what people will get up to when their identity is concealed. While wearing a mask they were free to conduct themselves in the most outrageous manner. This led to a freer and more open society. And of course the church took umbrage with this and soon issued an edict outlawing the wearing of masks.
It was too late though, the masks were popular, and so the church relented and allowed the wearing of them between the day after Christmas and the day before Lent.
What has this evolved into? The typical Mardi Gras mask! The flamboyant decorations of today owe their roots to a societal attempt at equality. One could argue that the mask still serves the same purpose that it did centuries ago. All one has to do is checkout a Mardi Gras parade to see revelers in masks behaving in ways you would never expect were they showing their faces and could be recognized.
premium-venetian-tri-color-maskThere are many types of masks and each has a particular significance. Some are full faced and others are half masks, then there are the colombina, jester and the long nosed Zanni, Scaromouche and many others all with stories behind their development.
True Venetian masks are absolute works of art. Venetian artisans craft elaborate masks with jewels, folded paper, faux fur, feathers and all manner of accouterments, and there will definitely be one to suit you. They range in size from very small intricate masks to very large wall or meant to be worn masks.There are many types of venetian masks
The next time your travels take you through Venice take some time out to check out some of the this beautiful craftwork and pick up one for yourself? It will make a great decoration for the home or as part of a costume the next time you attend a masquerade ball.