The history of the carnival mask

The history of the carnival mask
The history of the carnival mask

Today, many do not even know that the mask was a ritual attribute. And what a story is hidden behind a harmless hero, whose guise we try on on a holiday. And the meaning of some masks is not at all familiar to us.

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I was interested in learning more about what some of the most famous masks mean, after which characters were born.

Initially, the mask had a ritual meaning and each had its own application. And only over time, they began to associate it with the carnival. The mask became an attribute of wealth, it personified pleasure. It was worn for mischief, or to hide your face if you thought of doing something … wrong.

In Venice, the homeland of the carnival mask, anyone could take part in the carnival. Under the mask, everyone was to one degree or another equal, this allowed people to feel freer.

Let’s start with the most popular mask in Venice – Bauta or Casanova. It is unnecessary to write about what role the wearer of this mask will have. Traditionally, it is complemented by a cloak with a large hood and a triangular hat.

The history of the carnival mask 2
The history of the carnival mask 2

Gatto is a cat mask.

A whole legend is connected with this mask. Once a poor Chinese arrived in Venice, who had only an old cat from his property. The cat, despite its venerable age, caught all the mice in the Doge’s palace, for which the owner was more than rewarded. The Chinese man, having enriched himself well, returned home and told his neighbor about his luck.

The neighbor decided that if they gave such a generous reward for some tattered cat, he would get more by bringing luxurious silk to Venice. The Doge liked the silks and decided to give the most valuable thing for them – the cat. The cat returned to his homeland, and the Gatto mask appeared in Venice, depicting the mischievous face of a mustachioed treasure.

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The history of the carnival mask 3
The history of the carnival mask 3

Jester or Joly mask(female version)

Who does not know the Joker, perhaps his image is the most popular outside the carnival. The pointed cap, lavishly complemented by decor, was typical of the jester of the Middle Ages. The hero appeared on the stage of theaters in Germany, Spain, England and several other countries. The wearers of this mask were insane, and their antics sometimes required enviable courage.

The history of the carnival mask 4
The history of the carnival mask 4

The darkest mask, Dottore Peste, The mask of the plague doctor, has been known since the epidemic that swept Europe. Everyone knows its appearance, a large beak, which, as the doctors of the Middle Ages believed, designed to protect against infection, gives the mask an ominous shade. This mask does not fit in with the happiness and fun that comes from the carnival, although today it is greatly modified. She is complemented with bright patterns, beautiful hats, in every possible way driving away from her a gloomy image.

The history of the carnival mask 5
The history of the carnival mask 5

Before putting on a mask, think about what kind of character you want to show others. Crazy Joker, charming Gatto, or maybe gloomy Peste? A mask is an opportunity for some time to reincarnate into some other, but you need to choose wisely.

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