Venice is renowned for its canals, masquerade and carnival masks. The Venice Carnival wouldn't be what is without masquerade masks; they are an important part of the merriment. The carnivals origins are thought to go back to the twelfth centaury, but masking was not mentioned in partnership with the festivities till the thirteenth centaury. The carnival reached its height in the eighteenth centaury, were it had become a holiday maker attraction, bringing tourists to the city of canals from every area of Europe. In 1797 the Venetian Republic slid to Napoleon Bonaparte, at which time the tradition of the carnival ceased. It was revived again in the nineteen seventies and its revival has once more opened the doors of Venice to the holiday makers of the planet.
Masks weren't only worn during carnival, which usually lasted a month, but also for rites; including betrothals and marriages, the meeting of foreign dignitaries as well as for public holidays. In the eighteenth centaury the wearing of a mask had become part of ordinary Venetian Society. Its voters were wearing masks for at least six months of the year, although highly controlled, with laws ordaining when a mask could and couldn't be worn. Masks were not allowed to be worn during certain spiritual feast days, during Lent or for the ten days leading in to and including Christmas.
Masking occurred round the theatre seasons which started in October and finished just before Lent for the autumn-winter season. The summer season ran for only 17 days in the holiday of Ascension, which generally occurred in May. The theatre has a long and rich history of masking in with the Italian Comedy – The Commedia Dell ‘ Arte. Where the likes of Harlequin, Brighelle, and Arlecchino were seen stomping the stage, along with the bumbling Zanni.
The voters of Venice were great fans of the theatre and opera and they attended both in mask. The commonest form of masking dress was a Tabro with a bauta mask. The tabro is a hooded black cape that drapes round the face. Over this was placed the Bauta mask, which has a strong manly look to it and covers the face in such away to hide all facial features, but also permits one to each and drink with it on. This was often crowned with a black hat. This style of dress was employed by both men and some girls. The girls used this style as it masked one in such a way that you where completely incognito, when wearing pants.
Masks where not only worn for pleasure looking for, but where used in business transactions and at formal occasions, were it was thought to be dignified and safeguarded ones honour. Masks where accepted as a standard part of Venetian dress during the season and were affordable to all. Masking was so prevalent in the eighteenth centaury that Venice could have been known as the city of masks.
2012 Melanie Robson. mymasquerademasks.com You can use this piece of writing unreservedly on condition that you include this copyright line and keep all URL’s untouched and that folk who afterwards use this document follow the same conditions. Thanks for accepting these conditions.
Melanie Robson is a contract writer, researcher and director of Writers Cramp Productions, masquerade masks and masquerade ball masks are only some of the many subjects Melanie has researched and written about.