Masquerade masks are intriguing to say the least. If you've ever wondered about the history of these masks, here's guest contributor Jason Phillips with the perfect post for you!
You’ve probably seen and admired some of the beautiful Venetian masquerade masks. These splendid creations are used as wall art, Mardi Gras decorations, conversation pieces, and of course, party masks. Have you ever wondered how this tradition began, and why people wore masks in the first place? Here are 7 interesting things you should know about the history of masquerade masks.
1. Humble Beginnings
Masquerade masks have a long, illustrious history, dating all the way back to the 12th century in Venice, Italy. People in that society were very religious, and there was a fixed social order. People from different classes didn’t mingle much, and those in high society were expected to behave according to certain conventions. Failure to act respectably could spell disaster. A big celebration was held right before Lent, which was a time of somber fasting, prayer, and self-denial. It is no wonder that people wanted to go all out with the party before Lent started, and this is the origin of the annual carnival. It was a time when everyone, upper and lower classes alike, wanted to get out and party.
2. Perfect Way to Hide Your Identity
The next step was to hide their identity when they were cavorting drunkenly, or engaging in provocative or sexual behavior with someone from a different social class. In order to avoid being embarrassed the next day, people started wearing masks to the carnival. Now everyone, especially those in the rarefied upper classes, could enjoy themselves and carry on as much as they wanted to, without fear of repercussions. Masquerade masks gave them anonymity and freedom from the everyday rules that bound them.
3. Freedom of Speech
Masquerade masks gave people the freedom of speech. The purpose of the mask was to hide that person's identity. Ergo, anyone who wore them was at liberty to express their controversial opinions, true feelings and emotions out in the open without being condemned or judged in any way.
4. Amazing Types of Masquerade Masks
Modern Venetian masks, like their historical counterparts, can range from fairly simple to wildly ornate. They typically feature bright colors, along with metallic gold and silver. Some are full face masks, while others just cover the eye area. There are a few design types that are especially popular. These include the Bauta which covers the full face, and has a square jaw and a pointed chin. Notably, there is no mouth at all. It is often completely white, silver, or gold.
Then there's the Colombina which is a very colorful, decorative half mask. You may see the left in one color, the right in another. It is usually (though not always) worn by women.
The Volto is a full face mask worn by either women or men. No part of the face shows except your eyes, so it is highly anonymous. Like a mask within a mask, it shows a basic white face, with a mask on top.
The Pantalone is another bird-themed mask which has a sizable beak sticking forward. Traditionally this is for a witty, mischievous person.
Lastly, there's the Arlecchino which looks like the typical court jester, with a big smile on his face. It is sometimes attached to a large headpiece or hat.
5. Exquisite Materials
Masquerade masks can be made of different materials, such as leather, plaster, and papier mache. They can range from simple to very elaborate, with hand painted designs, fabric trim, sequins, glitter, and even jewels. Prices vary accordingly, and you can find masks that range from about $20 to over $1,000.
6. Memorable Masquerade Masks
Masquerade masks are truly memorable. They're not just meant to hide your identity at parties anymore. In today's modern society people wear them at annual balls and themed parties. Some masks are worth millions of dollars if they're adorned with diamonds, gold and some other precious stones. They're a key accessory for rich women and celebrities who want to make an impression.
7. Perfect Accessory
Masquerade masks are ideal accessories for unconventional women. We're specifically referring to masks worn on a stick. Perfect for a Mardi Gras event, these pieces can beautifully compliment a simple outfit. Feel free to match it with your shoes or make-up, and don't be afraid to opt for a striking color. The goal is to wow your audience. You can find fabulous masks at JustPoshMasks.com!
Wouldn't you just love to attend a masquerade ball so you have an excuse to buy one of those gorgeous creations?