The History of Masquerade Masks

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.

Used for freedom of speechColumbina Black/White Masquerade Masks

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.

•    black masquerade masks
•    white masquerade masksFull Face 1/2 Black 1/2 White Masquerade Masks

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.


About Toren Monson

Toren Monson is a professional event organizer and a party planner. He’s now a happily married husband and a father of two. He enjoys sharing his wisdom with others. When he's not into event advice; he likes to spend his time with his children and writes blogs and articles on all different types of gift items such as Venetian masks, Venetian carnival masks, and other various types of theme party masks.

Posted on May 21, 2013, in Venetian Masquerade Masks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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