Monday, October 22, 2007

Venetian Masks and Carnevale

Venice, Italy is a city built entirely on water. Instead of roads, there are canals and instead of taxis and buses, boats. Venice was once its own country, the Venetian Republic, until 1797, and during this time, masks played a large part in the culture.

Masks were especially important during Carnevale, a two-and-a-half-week celebration in February that leads up to Ash Wednesday. Masks allowed all people to be equal: a peasant woman could be mistaken for royalty if her face was covered by a mask.

When the Venetian Republic ended, so did the popularity of Carnevale and the wearing of masks. Carnevale has made a comeback in the last 30 years and today there are mask shops on every corner in Venice.
Venetian masks come in many different styles. Some cover the entire face and are decorated by enormous plumes of feathers. Others are plain white and only cover the eyes and nose. And you can find everything in between. Click here for some great Carnevale mask pictures.
Later in the week, when you make your own masks, maybe these pictures will inspire you. Also look back to the African masks from Friday's post.

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