I got this mask in Venice years ago. It’s been hanging on my wall ever since, waiting for a Mardi Gras invitation.
But I’m thinking this year I might jump out from behind the Christmas tree and startle Santa with my stunning facial attire, that cleverly disguises wrinkles and blemishes.
More Covering Required
In a hat tip to COVID, I’m now looking for a coordinated covering for my mouth and chin. Hmm. . . maybe a COVID-repelling beard, like Santa wears, but in green.
I would’ve bought a total face mask in Venice had I know they’d become so popular. But at the time, they were a bit pricey, so I went with the half-mask. Many of the total masks were made of paper-mache and wildly decorated with fabric, gems, feathers and fur. I picked a more modest model with a green peak over one eye.
Worn in Venice Since Antiquity
For those wanting to delve more deeply into masking, here’s a brief history of the custom.
Masks have been made in Venice for centuries with the idea of protecting their wearer’s identity during promiscuous or decadent activities. (Hmm. . . does that mean I need to think of something decadent and promiscuous to do to get the full benefit of my Venetian mask?)
Socially, masks leveled the playing field. It allowed wearers to take on a new persona. A serf could be mistaken for a nobleman or vice versa. Eventually the wearing of masks in daily life was banned and limited only to the months between December 26 and Shrove Tuesday.
Today, the world-famous Carnival of Venice is a time for wearing a total face mask once again.