Monthly Archives: May 2013
The origin of the Venetian masks and the masquerade balls goes back to the 13th century although they became predominant emblems of “Carnevales” of the 17th century Venice. In a society ruled by the conservative church, which condemned all sorts of flippancies, the masquerade balls and masks were great means of indulging in those very unsavory acts without revealing the gender, or identity of the wearers.
Today, masquerade balls are still held for extolling different occasions and getting together for indulging in fun tinged with mystery and magic. Here are some of the things you would need to consider for arranging a masquerade ball party.
Preparation- Budget, Theme and Invitee List: You need to plan your budget in accordance with the number of guests you will be inviting, the food as well as decorations. Compare quotations from a few caterers and check out their food samples to see if they appeal to your taste buds.
To curtail on professional decoration costs, get some friends to assist you in adorning the venue. Pick out a venue or banquet hall in tune with the size of the event that you will be hosting. Your theme can be anything dependent on the occasion such as Halloween, New Year’s Eve, Easter, Mardi Gras or Gothic.
Send out Invitations: You can don the creative hat and send out invitations to your friends in a unique way by either dressing up with Jester or Moretta masquerade ball masks or by writing down the specifics of costume, time and venue in some plastic masks which come quite cheap. Do not forget to add a line which evokes a sense of mystery in the mind of your guests.
Costumes: Although you might have been cautious enough to mention about costumes and masks for the party, it is likely that some of your guests may simply forget. So keep some spare ones with yourself and adorn them with fun themes like jesters and cats along with feather, tiaras and sequins as accents. You can yourself add a distinct touch to your own attire by painting your mask with scintillating black and golden paint and make-up instead of wearing one.
Decoration: The decorations will depend on the theme you have picked up. Do it up with balloons, feathers, beads, streamers, and other colorful stuff and do not forget to spruce up with Venetian masks here and there. Use the right kind of lighting and colors with dominant hues being black, golden and red.
Activities and Entertainment: Activities form a conspicuous part of parties and to keep your guests entertained to the lees – arrange for activities like a costume parade, inviting jugglers and magicians and culminate the show with a grand ball dance.
Food: The gourmet spread should also be in tune with your party theme with decorated cakes, meats and loads of cheeses.
A last tip- for ensuring that your party turns out to be the talk of the town, be organized and start planning a month or two before.
If you are contemplating on purchasing masquerade ball masks for the theme party in the coming weekend, how about lending it a customized look by going for a Do It Yourself endeavor? In this way you can cache in some money while becoming the cynosure of the Mardi Gras ball by appearing in your mysterious attire.
The basic ingredients required are two white masks for making the male and female masks, spray paint and a dowel rod. Apart from these, you will need craft glue, wax paper, feathers and beads or other embellishments.
Here are three methods of making masks for masquerade ball.
Method 1: The first thing that you have to do of course is choose a design for your masks. While the female ones generally bear cat-eyes and are narrow, the male ones usually have the whole of the forehead covered up till the nose. You can also choose different basic masks for male and female, for instance those with prominent features for the male and the one with softer feministic attributes for the female.
Once you have the design, cut it out and do a spray paint of your choice to both the mask as well as the dowel rod. Glue the feathers proportionately, short feathers on top for male and tall ones across the middle and shorter on the sides for the female. The dowel rod is to be attached to the back portion of the female mask. You can then make your own adornments with sequins and paints to enhance the look of the masks further.
Method 2: The second method entails making the clay mask yourself by first kneading a lump of clay and rolling it flat by placing it on a wax paper to get a thickness of about 1/8 inches. If you already have a paper mask that fits your face, cut the clay through the indented design or by placing it on your face and shape it out in tune with the pattern you wish to lend it with.
Put it atop a clay pot and place it inside the oven pre-warmed to 250 degrees. After keeping it for about 15 to 20 minutes, take it out and allow it to cool down. You can then paint it according to your own taste.
Method 3: In order to make masquerade ball masks made of paper you require foil, water and flour. Here, the foil is to be placed first on your face to make the markings for the design and then keep it carefully atop a bowl. Make a mixture of one cup flour and two cups of water. Now you need a number of newspaper strips, which require dipping in the mixture paste and spreading across in layers across the foil.
Repeat the process of overlapping once one layer is dried up. When the papier mache has attained a formidable structure, you can peel off the foil and place the mask on your face and make holes on both sides for allowing the elastic string to pass. You can now embellish it with feathers by using craft glue and glitters on paint.
Masquerade connotes to concealing your appearance and persona to make it intriguing and mysterious with the help of a veil or mask. The masquerade masks have been significant right from the twelfth century era. They were initially used in Venetian carnivals to conceal a person’s appearance.
Let’s discuss the evolution of these masks:
Used for disguising
They were used by wealthy and the affluent for disguising and to get liberated from their own personality traits in the parties. It was a medium to evade the glaring social eyes, due to the stigma attached with wealthy socials, socializing with the commoners at a party. In the era of Italian Renaissance, the festivities marked a touch of elegancy, luxuriance, and regality; the masquerade masks were used in social balls, grand parties, and festive celebrations.
People from highly affluent social strata and congregations joined these carnivals. It gave them freedom of speech inside their social circle, as the masked person could not easily be recognized in the circuit. They had the liberty to vent out their truest feelings, wildest emotions, and controversial opinions, just about anything without being worried about the consequence.
The Real disguise
At the backdrop of these parties, all kinds of human emotions and characters were being displayed and enacted. These included secret or illegal financial interactions, undue sexual favors, and anonymous transactions.
There were two types of base masks over which ornamentation and designing was done as per the theme to decorate these pieces.
Men and women folks wore these deliberately designed masks and highlighted the theme of the party or carnival. There were many types of designs to select from and gradually these masks and masquerade party got trendy with the work of art put in them.
The main types of masks included:
- The mass with a stick: The stick styled mask was used for casual occasions when masquerade was just a theme and the party did not entail hiding the identity. These could be easily removed but it was cumbersome for eating, drinking, and dancing with them. Now, these masks are merely used as decorative pieces at homes or as a welcome souvenir for masquerade.
- The head mask: The head design masks bore resemblance to a helmet. The designs for head masks were graceful and accessorized elaborately to give the real camouflaged look. On the hindsight, these masks were colossal and intricate, difficult to open and not flexible for the users. It caused hindrances in eating and drinking.
- The full-face mask: The full faced black or white masquerade masks were ostentatiously accessorized and bejeweled heavily. These were used more conveniently for a real veiled appearance. The real authentic Venetian masks can be collectible pieces for generations!
- The half face mask: The most practical and trendy out of all mask designs were the half faced white or black masquerade masks to give a cloaked facade. The base masks were embellished in a myriad of styles and designs to reveal an ethnic, regal persona.
In the modern times, masquerade parties are a rage. They are presently available in a wide variety of designs, types, colors, and prices to select for the occasion.
So you’ve got a big masquerade party coming up and you want to look classy and elegant at the same time. A great idea is to attend the event wearing beautiful Venetian masks for masquerade ball along with an elegant Italian outfit to complete the attire and make you look like a million bucks. Venetian masks for masquerade ball are not like your everyday masks that you can pick up at any local dress up shop. These are beautiful and exquisite works of art that have a rich cultural history associated with them. Some of the most popular varieties are:
- The Dama: The Dama of simply ‘The Lady’ is one of the most simple yet elegant of all Venetian masks. This mask symbolises quite simply, the face of a beautiful woman, with big doe-shaped eyes, a narrow tipped nose and full lips. Since the mask itself is quite simple, one can really use ones imagination to complete the outfit- one can dress up as any kind of lady with the right kind of outfit and jewellery and wear black masquerade masks to complete the look.
- The Dottor Peste: The Dottor Peste literally translated means ‘The Doctor Plague’ and this mask carries a story with it. Worn by doctors in the days of the plague in order to shield themselves from germs and bacteria while tending to the sick and diseased. A rather sordid design, it looks a bit like an evil bird out of the middle ages with a long beak and glasses covering the eyes. The mask covers the whole face and neck and can be work with a large hat or hood for an utterly sinister look!
- The Bauta: The Bauta carries a social significance as well with it- it was used inVenice by the ordinary people to hide their identities and symbolised this feature. The mask itself is designed as a square face with a rather flat nose and no mouth, along with eye slots in various shapes. Since the mask really doesn’t have much shape, it is gender-neutral and can be worn by men and women alike. Another great mask to experiment different looks with as it’s quite neutral in and of itself, and one can transform oneself into any character they desire by teaming it with the right outfit.
These are some of the most popular varieties of Venetian masks that are worn by millions of people around the world. You can find black masquerade masks and thousands of other different shapes of Venetian masks; and depending upon what character you are planning to portray through your outfit, you can surely find a mask to match.