Clay Wall Masks Are Popular Wall Hangings

Clay Wall Masks Are Popular Wall Hangings

Clay wall masks have become a popular home decor item in recent years, but have you ever wondered about their origin? Venetian masks are a playful accessory displayed most prominently during Carnivale. To discover the history of this colourful concealment, we also find the origins of Carnivale.

Masks have been used in religious and cultural ceremonies all over the world, but in medieval Italy they were used simply to cover the wearer’s confront. This luxurious small town was a great economic machine and the people of the town lived extravagantly. However, religious repression was at an all time high, so citizens wore masks to conceal their identity when carrying on with immoral behaviors.

The Catholic Church became so concerned about the amount of promiscuity, gambling and debauchery that they outlawed the masks, especially during holy days. But this was met with mixed success until it was agreed upon that the months between Christmas and Shrove Tuesday were permissible for wearing the masks. Though the specific reasons for the celebration are nevertheless disputed, this time ultimately became the Pre-Lent celebration known as Carnivale, which died out during the Enlightenment but was re-established in the late.

These colourful, golden masks are mostly made of paper mache, though some are produced from a clay base. If you have clay wall masks hanging in your room, try to figure out what kind you have. Here are the names for the different types:

Bauta – covers the whole confront with no mouth and lots of gilding.

Gatto – a half disguise shaped like a cat’s confront, worn mainly by women.

Jester – a jesters disguise. It can cover either half or the whole confront. The feminine version is called a Jolly.

Zanni – a half disguise with a long beak nose. Some call it a Medico Della Peste, The Plague Doctor.

A Volto or Larva – a disguise that is plain white and often worn with a black cloak.

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