Venetian masks from Italy make the best masquerade, carnival and Halloween masks. They come in so many designs and styles, that it’s hard to make a decision. Historically, people have used these masks to hide their identity while moving about in society. Whether it’s a romantic rendezvous, or a potentially criminal act, masks have always helped to hide one’s true identity, leaving one to explore their hidden sides.
Speaking about Venetian mask designs, there’s a specific purpose behind each one. Each mask is distinguished from its brothers through its flamboyant design, style and design scheme. There are full face masks meant to totally mask one’s identity and there are masks that only cover half, hinting at the person behind. Let’s take a look at some of the well-known designs and their purpose.
Bauta: Full Face Venetian Masks
Full-faced masks are excellent to hide one’s identity. These masks leave everything to the imagination and provide complete anonymity. They were used for secrecy purposes in the olden days but are now used mostly during carnivals as part of one’s costume. There are several designs to choose from in this category, from glossy black, to silver macrem or gold macrem, white deco, enamel-covered and so on. There are also full-faced feather masks with bright feathers surrounding the mask face, such as red or tan tiger masks.
Columbina: Half-Face Velvet Masks
These exotic masks are made of velvet and cover the top half of the face only. They are attached to the face by an elastic or velvet band that goes around the back of the head. These masks are ideal for masquerade parties. The velvet adds a touch of glamour and goes well with silk suits and ball gowns. Look for really exotic ones, such as the wing-shaped Columbia velvet finishing masks, or the Elfe mask with the plume stick, or the Azzuro to mezzo volto mask that comes with flowers.
Medico Della Peste: Zanni-Nazo Masks
If you like the bizarre and slightly scary, you’ll love the Zanni-Nazo masks with their long beaks. The long beaks resemble eagle beaks, and sometimes like the tails of snakes. These masks cover half the face. The round eyeholes are surrounded by crystals. You can go all out with your eye make up with these masks. You can get these masks in various colors, styles, sizes and looks. These masks are scary enough for Halloween, and genteel enough for masquerade balls.
These full faced masks come in different types. Each one is romantic, aesthetic and incredibly beautiful. There are several flavors among these masks such as Harlequin, Pantalone, Pierrot and Mandoline. Many of them are painted in glossy ivory enamel, with blue, red, gold and black designs superimposed on face. In some masks, one side will be painted blue, gold or black, while the other remains ivory. Gold paisley and twig designs are liberally applied artistically over the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. It’ll be difficult to pick just one of these amazing masks. Each one is a collector’s item.
Bauta: Full-Faced Jolly Venetian Masks
Court jesters would wear these ‘jolly’ masks that cover the entire face. They are called jolly masks because of their expression. Most of these masks look funny though some do look happy and sad at the same time. Metal curlicues surround the mask, making artistic curves. These curves sometimes look like snakes, bringing Medusa to mind. Sometimes the curves and curlicues resemble flying banners. These masks are intricately painted in gold, with white, red and gold accents to the chin and eye areas.
Columbina: Stick Masks
Stick masks are not attached to the face. Rather, the stick is carried by the wearer, placed right over the eyes to hide and mask their identity. When the person wants to reveal their identity, they just lower the stick a fraction. A seductive flash of the eye, and the stick goes back up again and the mystery’s back. Columbina stick masks usually cover just the eye, part of the forehead and part of the nose, leaving the sides of the face, the lips and the jaw exposed. These masks are very popular for masquerade balls and used to be especially favored by women.
Commedia: Full-Faced Emotion-Based Masks
These masks resemble the classic sad and happy face masks that you see in feng-shui stores. They display exaggerated expressions, usually a large smile with the cheeks raised, or an open-mouthed, truly funny expression. Think of a person’s face as they watch a funny show and you’ll understand what these masks look like. Apart from conveying mystery and intrigue, these masks also convey emotion. For example, a person who’s sad within but wants to show he’s not sad could opt for a Commedia mask to hide his true emotions.