The Venetian mask: an ancient tradition
The Venetian mask
has a long history
stretching back almost 1,000 years
. Nobody knows for sure, when or why the tradition of wearing masks
began but there is a lot of speculation. The history and origins of “the mask
” is as mysterious as the mask
What is acknowledged to be “the truth” by many scholars and historians is that the tradition of mask wearing
began in the 13th century
, but then again, some say there is evidence of mask wearing
as early as 1094
. Without a time machine though, we will never know for sure. The tradition of mask wearing went through several different epochs too.
For example, during the 18th century
you could only wear a mask
from the 26 December
until Shrove Tuesday
, the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. The tradition of mask wearing came to an end when Napoleon
invaded and conquered Venice
, and only enjoyed a resurgence in the 1970s
The purpose of mask wearing was to eliminate social differences between the classes so that everybody was equal for a certain period during the year. This acted as a kind of steam valve for society at general and is believed to have prevented the lower classes from getting too angry with their superiors and therefore prevented any kind of revolution.
also allowed people to engage in otherwise “illegal” or frowned upon activities
, such as gambling, and illicit affairs.
The different types of Venetian masks
There are several different types of Venetian masks
. Here is a list of the original Venetian masks: the Bauta (here on the right), the Colombina
, the Medico Della Peste
, the Moretta
or Servetta Muta, the Volto
, the Pantalone
, the Zanni.
That’s a lot of different types of masks – clearly you really have to know your stuff to understand what they all mean, where they all come, and of course, how to make them!
That’s why the mascherari – Venetian mask makers in English – are considered artists. Don’t worry though, everyone can make a homemade Venetian mask! And it’s one of the most fun things to do during this time of the year.
DIY Venetian masks
Venetian masks made by the professional artists can be really expensive. For example, The Magnificent Sole Lux (here on the right) costs almost a quarter of a million dollars!
That’s a bit pricey for most of us. But, of course, we can just make our own paper mache DIY Venetian mask. It’s quite easy. All you need to do is make the paper mache, apply it to your face – after you have let it cool a bit first!
Now the mask is the shape of your face, and to strength then it you add newspaper soaked in paper mache paste.
You can add more layers to the mask to make it even stronger. Once you are satisfied that the mask is durable enough, let
it dry, and then decorate however you want!
Join with € 57 to the mask decoration course with a Carnival masks master, click here!
The Carnival Treasure Hunt has two Venetian masks for you
As Venice Carnival 2023 approaches you are probably thinking about Venetian masks and DIY Venetian masks. Well, we have a great game for you called the Carnival Treasure Hunt in Venice which consists of a self-guided tour and Carnival Selfie competition.
You do a self-guided tour of Venice, taking selfies of yourself at four great locations most tourists have never heard of. Then you go to a local Atelier – an artist mask making studio – show at least 3 pics of of the hidden locations, and you get two masks.
Carnival Treasure Hunt from St. Mark's area, discover with € 24 Venetian hidden secrets by playing, click here!
Carnival Treasure Hunt from Piazzale Roma area, uncover with € 24 the city’s hidden treasure by playing, click here!