Monthly Archives: August 2013
Venetian masquerade masks transport you back into a world of brave knights and pretty damsels who were almost always in distress. These masks reignite those long-forgotten memories of magnificent balls and slivers of caviar in silver platters. Perhaps, nostalgia is one of the reasons that have rekindled the popularity of masquerade balls amongst the young and the old.
Rules to Follow
Whether you are a student or professional, at some point in your life you may be invited for one of these high-end balls. Naturally, your costume, no matter how pretty it may be, will not have the desired effect without a Venetian carnival mask, which is a must in these balls. So, how does one choose amongst those zillions of Venetian masquerade masks? Simply, by following some ground rules.
The first aspect to consider is the occasion. Is it a wedding or a prom or an event as big as the Mardi Gras? In case of a wedding, it is a good idea to inquire beforehand about the kind of mask you need to wear. You can check out the wedding card or ask an organiser. Generally, people prefer wearing white Venetian masquerade masks since these look classy. If you are a lady and are wary of messing up your make-up you can opt for a mask on a stick. Men can wear half masks that look elegant and highlight their facial structures.
In case of a prom, there are a lot of options available. Most prefer masks that compliment their costumes. However, if you don’t find what you are looking for, a black and white mask works just fine with any kind of costume.
Flaunt the Flashy Masks
If you are attending a Mardi Gras event, then it is advisable to choose an elaborate and flashy Venetian carnival mask. Invest in a hard-crafted mask, which will make you look mysterious and alluring. No doubt, hand crafted masks don’t come cheap, but they are a class-apart and will last you for a long time.
There are a number of stores online that sell cheap masks. However, these masks lack the look and elegance of a high-quality mask. Some can even give you pretty nasty allergies, so it’s advisable that you opt for high quality carnival masks.
Remember to choose a mask which is a comfortable fit. It is obviously not a good idea to choose a mask is stifling or is too big or too small. Instead, opt for something which fits comfortably.
Most people prefer masks made from lightweight materials such as feather or paper mache. Though they look trendy, leather masks can make you sweat and are generally heavy. However, they are perfect for winter events.
If chosen rightly, masquerade masks can add that much needed allure and mystery to your ensemble which can earn you loads of admirers!
In use since the early 12th century, Venetian masks were the people’s answer to the rigid class structure that existed in Europe; a way for lovers to unite, for partners to be promiscuous, for homosexuals to unite in a societal structure that equalled them with demons and women to dress boldly.
In a wealthy Venice where money flowed free like the water through its canals, pleasures of life were easier to come by than freedom and this included the freedom of thought and its expression. The mask also came to be used to strike secret business deals and to carry out spy work. With Venetians ‘masking’ their lives completely, it came to be worn every day becoming their “anonymous chat ID”, if you will.
The modern reference to such masks in the famous film Eyes Wide Shut was, thus, not wary off the mark when Tom Cruise infiltrates a masquerade ball where men of influence were engaging in ‘sexcapades’. While the Venetian mask featuring in the film made them a sudden rage the world over, putting the spot light on the almost forgotten art, the news of their use was no more novel than love itself.
Early mentions of the Venetian masks reinforce mischievous uses it was put to. The Venetian Law itself mentions masked men throwing scented eggs at ladies during the carnival, an act which was prohibited by law.
The antics of the Venetians carried on until the 1100s when the Church banned its use on holy days in hope that this would check people’s immoral behaviour. The ban restricted the masks’ use to a small period starting December 26. Over time, this further got cut down to a week-long period, when Venetians indulged in the run up to Lent, called Carnevale.
Though intending to curtail debauchery, the ban gave birth to one of the most intriguing festivals, “The Carnival of Venice”, where art is celebrating in a week-long orgy of master craftsmanship.
The modern times may have led mask makers to create experimental masks in keeping with changing tastes. Popular traditional disguises in early Venice included the fisherman with a rod, demon, butcher, doctor, sailor and even a dancing bear. However, one of the most popular and beautiful was the moon Venetian masks.
In both Pagan and in Christian semiotics, the moon has been representative of the female form and the sun of the masculine, other than in Germany where it is the opposite. The moon also symbolizes the lovers seeking to hide in the lunar shadows. Thus, it stands as a favourite among the young.
These moon masks and the sun masks, both full-face and half are the most ornamental and delicately carved of all.
Traditionally made of paper mache, clay, porcelain and glass, the Venetian masks are today made of every conceivable material. On a stick or full-face, simply white or flambouyant gold and feathery; master craftsman can chisel something for everyone to unleash the masquerader within.