Masquerade party masks are works of art that intrigue many. Read on to know a little in detail about these facades that are hard to resist.
It is the mystery that lies behind the masks, that makes them a popular prop at parties. But do you ever wonder where it all started? Masquerade party masks date back to the thirteenth century to mark the celebration of festivals, weddings, and carnivals.
The anonymity these masks provided to the wearer, a slight breather over stiffing rules of social conduct. Over a period of time, these masks became a medium through which the poor could mingle with the rich. It is during the renaissance period when these masks gained popularity as a part of a special dress code at balls.
Sporting bright colors and bold designs, became an acceptable fashion back then, and remains so in modern times as well. Even today, the reason why many wear these masks is because they can clearly disguise their identity and play the teasing game of hide and seek from behind those facades.
History of Masquerade Masks
The history of these masks starts with the grand carnival in Italy. Known as the Carnevale di Venezia, the carnival allowed people from various classes of the society to come together, without anyone being judgmental.
It became a way of stealing kisses from women and getting political information from the noblemen during the festivities. Hedonistic tone of the ancient masquerade parties was the reason why it was severely criticized. However, the incognito factor of these masks made them popular all around the world especially during the renaissance period all over Europe.
Types of Masquerade Masks
This is one of the traditional masquerade masks that were famously used during the carnival in olden times. This mask covers the entire face, except the eyes, which allows the wearer to see.
The mask has no mouth, but instead is designed with a straight jawline that is tilted upwards. This preserves the wearer's anonymity while speaking, eating or drinking. The mask often has a fancy feathered headgear to completely conceal the wearer's identity.
This is a very commonly worn mask in masquerade parties. A columbina covers half the face and is often decorated with bold colors of gold, silver, sequins or crystals.
This mask gained popularity after an actress from the commedia dell'arte, which is a form of theater, did not want her beautiful face to be covered entirely. This mask is either held up by a baton or is tied behind the head with a ribbon.
Medico Della Peste
Translated as the plague doctor, this mask was popularized by Charles de Lorme in 16th century France, while treating plague patients. The mask has a beak as a mouth and has round circles at the eyes.
This mask was worn with a black hat, black cloak, and white gloves, to imitate the doctor's style. Today, these masks are much more decorative than what they used to be in the earlier times.
These were worn by women as it emphasized their femininity and made them look sensuous. This black mask is oval in shape and covers just the face. Decorated with glitter and crystals, this masks finished off with a veil. The wearer holds the mask in the mouth with a button that on its inside. This mask is usually made out of velvet.
A volto mask is also known as larva, which is commonly known as the white mask. The mask derives its name from the Latin word 'larva', which means the ghost. The mask covers the entire face, and has a feathered headgear, just like the bauta.
In modern times, masquerade masks are worn to enjoy the spirit of the ancient Venetian culture. These masks are a piece of art that still intrigue many.
Over a period of years, these masks have undergone many changes in style. However, the motto of being an incognito remains, despite the variations in the way these masks look. So pick your favorite and hit the party for a night of mystery and enigma.