Venice is a popular tourist destination because of its picturesque canals, the famous Carnival and its amazing Italian culture. No carnival is complete without vibrant and colorful Venetian masks. These come in unlimited shapes, sizes and textures to suit every requirement.
Some masks are specially made keeping women in mind. Venetian masks for women generally have a more delicate appearance and are often made of metal filigree and lace. Some other specialised masks for women are Eye Masks, Nose & Phantom Masks, Stick Masks and Feather Masks.
The bauta is a mask which is a traditional weird piece of artwork characterized by a prominent nose, a chin jutting out and no mouth. The chin is like a beak and the wearer can speak, drink and eat through it. The bauta is often worn with a black or red cape and a three cornered hat. Usually males wear the bauta, but many paintings from the 18th century also display women wearing this mask coupled with a tricorn hat.
The Columbina, also known as a Columbino is a half-mask, which covers only the wearer’s upper cheeks, eyes and nose. It is a modern creation for women and is very often decorated with crystals, gold, silver and feathers. It is held in front of the face by a baton or can be tied with ribbons like most other Venetian masks. The Columbina mask is named after a stock character Columbina, a maidservant who was part of Italian theatre for generations. It has been said that this mask was specially designed for a beautiful actress who did not want to cover her face completely. While both women and men now use this mask, it began as a woman’s answer to the bauta.
The participants at a masquerade ball attend wearing various types of costumes. Masquerade masks are used during these balls to conceal the identity of the wearers. Wearing a mask often indicates you do not even know who you are dancing with, and the ball is almost a game of “guess who” where people try to figure out the identities of others. Often suitors attempt to steal a kiss from a lady who has caught their eye. Masquerade masks are generally made out of paper mache, but in the olden days, animal hides like pig skins were used.
Masquerade masks for women come in all colors and styles. Women generally prefer to select a mask of a color which matches the dress they plan to wear. Styles include feathered masks, masks with handles, masks with animal prints and more. Women like to ensure they get the appropriate mask that fits their mood and dress style. Other Venetian masks for women include those with ostrich feathers, elaborately painted ones, glittered masks as well as simpler unadorned papier mache or Vinyl masks.
Events that use Venice as the theme often use masks as sale items and decoration pieces. You can use Venetian masks at parties to organize a colorful Italian experience for your guests.
Venetian masks come in various shapes, colours and style. They often have quite dazzling designs and decorations. Of course, there are some toned down ones too for people with simpler preferences. Though masks were used to hide the wearer’s identity in ancient times, nowadays they’re use more for pleasure and to bring life to parties and other celebratory events.
Masks range from the full face ones, to the ones that partially cover the face, to ones covering the eyes only. The possibilities are endless. Innumerable designs and styles are available in each category. Options offered include plain black, gold or silver macrem, white deco and many more. Masks can be scary enough to be used at Halloween parties as well as dignified enough for events like masquerade balls.
A mask popular with people who prefer a slightly flashy appearance is the Full Face Feather Mask. Such masks can be truly creations of art. They can give an impression of mystery, romance, intrigue and secrecy all at once. Now isn’t that something! The feathers of different birds such as ostriches, peacocks, turkeys and even eagles are used. Artificial fibres are sometimes used to create a colourful feathery appearance. Some styles have multi-coloured fans along with feathers to give the masks a more unique appearance.
Full face feather masks sometimes have artistically painted faces, complete with delicate features, curvy lips and well-proportioned eye holes. The face is beautifully framed by feathers which give the appearance of a wig. The upper part of the mask may be covered by a small glittering silver or gold eye mask. This gives an appearance of two masks in one and it’ll be hard to resist picking up something like this.
Some masks are fully handmade and make you look almost regal. So if you want to look like a price, princess or even a Red Indian, full face feather masks are just the thing for you. These masks are so detailed and elaborate; you may not even recognize the face looking back at you in the mirror!
Masquerade balls, Prom Parties, May Balls and many such events offer a great change to enjoy using state-of-the-art masks. A popular theme for these parties is ‘Black & White’. If you’ve received an invite to such a do, you have a great chance to go in for pretty white masks or masks with a combination of black and white adornments. White masquerade masks are a big hit with people of all ages. Plain white leather masks are a good idea if you want a ghostly or phantom like appearance.
Venetian masks symbolize intrigue and beauty. In addition to being worn at various events, they can be used as wall hangings and decoration pieces to add a rich look to the décor of homes, offices, hotels and other places needing a beautiful ambience.
A well-crafted Venetian mask that has been exquisitely designed is an asset you’ll want to preserve for a lifetime. These masks can be passed down the years as heirlooms and treasured by many generations.
Venetian masks have been traditionally used in Venice for many years. They were mainly worn during the Carnival of Venice, though now they’re used on many other occasions too. These could range from fun parties to romantic purposes where identities need to be kept a secret. Sometimes masks are used by elements wishing to remain anonymous in their private activities.
These masks can be made of porcelain, leather, acrylic and many other materials. Originally, they were designed quite simply without too many decorations. Most often, they served some practical or symbolic function. Nowadays, a large number of masks are hand-painted and natural feathers and gems are used for adornment. Some are created using leaves of fine golden sheets. In fact, the sky is the limit as far as decorations are concerned.
Venetian masks come in various shapes, sizes and in a variety of colours to suit individual preferences. Some can be perched daintily on your head so as to cover only a part of your face so as to offer just a suggestion of suspense. Others can cover your entire head including the back of your head as well as your complete face keeping your identity completely incognito.
These masks are classical ones that you will relate to instantly. They have been used in the theatrical arts to represent both tragic and comic characters. These masks leave a lot to a viewer’s imagination and allow complete anonymity. They allow the wearer to act in a free manner, especially in cases where he wishes to interact with members of society who are outside bounds as per everyday conventions.
Full face masks are quite comfortable when worn and are often used at Halloween parties. If the wearer wishes to appear a bit shady, he can couple the mask with a three cornered hat. The addition of a dark cloak can add an aura of mystery and make the attire complete.
There are various names given to the categories of full face masks. Some of them are “Larva” meaning “Ghost””, “Volto” meaning “Face” and the most well-known is the “Pierrot” which indicates a simple-minded and honest servant.
Full face masks are often decorated with different types of jewels and fabrics decorated with silver or gold strings. The inclusion of colourful silk ribbons to hold them in place adds to their attraction. You can choose from a variety of designs and colour schemes. Masks can be enamel-covered, glossy black with white, silver or gold trimmings made of silver or gold macramé, the list is endless… You’ll be spellbound by full-faced feather masks having bright feathers of all colours of the rainbow surrounding the mask face. Some masks offer a ferocious facade with bright red, maroon or tan tiger masks.
For those who do not like wearing something heavy, there’s an option of going in for lightweight masks made using the ancient technique of papier-mâché. Layers of paper and plaster result is a lightweight base that contours the wearer’s face and soft velvet lining provides comfort on the inner side.
In addition to being worn for fun purposes, masks are often used as exquisite ornaments and wall adornments. So if you want to gift a friend with something, unique, you now have a new option!
In ancient times, Venetian masks were used to protect the wearer’s identity in the city of Venice. Nowadays Venetian masks are mainly used at parties and during carnivals around the world. People enjoy real fun times wearing all types of crazy masks.
Normally, the base of a mask is made out of clay. Masks can also be made from papier-mâché, layered over with plaster to give a firm feel. They are designed using vibrant coloured sequins and feathers and a variety of other decorations.
Types of Venetian Masks
You’ll find a wide array of Venetian Masks types. The Bauta is a traditional mask which is quite grotesque looking. It includes a long, prominent nose, a jutting out chin and no mouth. The wearer can use the beak like chin to speak, eat and drink. This mask is normally worn with a dark red or black cape and a tri-cornered hat.
The Columbina, essentially a mask for women, is a half-mask covering the wearer’s upper cheeks, nose and eyes. This creation is often decorated with feathers, crystals, gold and silver. It can be tied with ribbons like most other Venetian masks or held in front of the face by a baton.
Harlequin masks normally have large, hooked noses and have patterns of white and black checkered diamonds on them including bright painted lips.
The Medico della peste mask or Plague Doctor mask has a long beak and is one of the most unusual and easily recognizable Venetian masks. Interestingly, it was not created as a carnival mask, but as a method of preventing disease from spreading. The mask is normally white with a hollow beak and eyeholes covered with round crystal discs which create a bespectacled appearance. Those who wear this mask sometimes also wear the associated clothing of a doctor.
The Jolly Venetian Mask depicts a joker and covers either the full face or half of it. The mask includes curly hair and a bell much like the quintessential circus clown. It has a slightly more aesthetic design than a clown’s face which includes colourful materials that normally adorn carnival masks.
The Cat Venetian Mask, also known as the gatto mask, looks much like the face of a cat with small ears at the top. This mask covers the top half of the face, leaving the mouth and tip of the nose exposed. This mask can introduce a fun element to a party and is quite effective in hiding the identity of the wearer.
There are various types of Venetian masquerade masks that you can go in for if you want to be the centre of attraction at a masquerade ball or party. Half masks adorned with bejewelled butterflies, crystals and graceful feathers in numerous shades are a hit with the ladies. Other petite masks specially designed to show a greater area of the face offer additional options.
If you’re looking for majestic flair, you could go in for Baroque eye masks. These normally consist of soft form bases and can be made resplendent with gold and silver filigree. Some exclusive designs make use of fine beads, metalwork, embroidery and sequins for a truly sparkling finish.
Using such masks, you’re sure to make a great impression whether it’s a Venetian masquerade ball, a ladies night, a fancy dress party or any other event. The red carpet welcomes you……
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.