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History of Venetian Masks

Venetian carnival masks

The Italian Venetian masks first made an appearance in 1268 at the annual celebration commemorating the defeat of Ulrich II. Masks continued their popularity as Venice rose to become sort of the Vegas of it's day, with visitors seeking to protect their identity while indulging in some questionable behavior.

In the Renaissance period, these masquerade masks were adopted by the Commedia Dell Arte. They all but disappeared while Venice was under Austro-Hungarian rule, only to be resurrected in the 1970's by artists seeking to profit from the tourist trade. In the Americas, they are popular today for Carnival and Mardi Gras masquerade balls and celebrations.

Venetian masks consist of several recognizable styles, each with it's own name and distinct history. Some of the most popular are:

The Moretta - a black velvet mask covering the whole face, worn by ladies.

The Bauta - a heavily-gilded black or white mask covering the entire face.

The Larva or Volto - a shiny, white mask, often worn with a black cloak and a tricorn hat.

The Columbine - a half-mask, decorated in gold, rhinestones and/or feathers, held up to the face on a stick or tied with a ribbon.

Medico Della Peste or "The Plague Doctor". This mask, with it's long, beak-like nose, originates from a style that was actually used during the bubonic plague. The nose part was stuffed with vinegar-soaked sponges and various salts and disinfectant herbs, in an attempt to protect the wearer from the disease.

For more information about the Carnival of Venice and the traditional Venetian masquerade masks:

History of Carnival in Venice
History of Venetian Carnival

Venetian style and masquerade masks, for Mardi Gras, Carnival / Carnivale or a masquerade ball.
See also Mardi Gras costumes

Black And Red Venetian Mask With Horns - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Black And Red Venetian Mask With Horns - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$21.99  $11.00

This sinister half mask is black and red, has s... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Medusa Masquerade Mask

Medusa Masquerade Mask

$19.99

Slither into any party in the Medusa Masquerade... [Read more]

Brand: Spirit Halloween

Gold Venetian Half Mask with Hat - Mardi Gras Costumes

Gold Venetian Half Mask with Hat - Mardi Gras Costumes

$32.95  $16.48

Venetian Half Mask with Hat [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Gold Tragedy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Gold Tragedy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$21.34  $10.67

Finalize your made grass costume with this full... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Black And White Fancy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Black And White Fancy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$16.49  $8.25

This is a black and white Mask with a gold and ... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

White Comedy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

White Comedy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$19.79  $9.90

Keep a constant smile with this White Comedy Ma... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Skull Mardi Gras Scary Mask

Skull Mardi Gras Scary Mask

$59.25  $45.67

White skull mask has hollowed out eyes and the ... [Read more]

Brand: Distortions Unlimite

Teal Half Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Teal Half Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$12.75  $6.38

Accessorize your made grass costume with this p... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Red With Gold Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Red With Gold Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$24.19  $12.10

Enrich your made grass costume with this half m... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Two Color Venetian Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Two Color Venetian Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$30.79  $15.40

This festive Venetian half mask is two colored ... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Deluxe Red Mystique Mask - Mardi Gras and Masquerade Masks

Deluxe Red Mystique Mask - Mardi Gras and Masquerade Masks

$16.49  $8.25

This Deluxe Adult Red Mystique Mask with feathe... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

White Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

White Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$19.68  $9.84

Magnify your look with this half mask that is w... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Bunny Mask - Mardi Gras or Masquerade Masks

Bunny Mask - Mardi Gras or Masquerade Masks

$27.05  $13.53

Bunny mask, an essential accessory to your Mard... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Multi Color Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Multi Color Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$24.19  $12.10

This Multi Colored Mask has several different p... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Silver Devil Man Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Silver Devil Man Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$18.69  $9.35

Add some evil to your costume with this Silver ... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Black Glamour Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Black Glamour Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$21.77  $10.89

This black 3/4 mask is shaped like a butterfly ... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Black and White Domino Mask - Masquerade Masks

Black and White Domino Mask - Masquerade Masks

$12.09  $6.05

This Black and White Domino Mask is of a classi... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Tasseled Mardi Gras Mask

Tasseled Mardi Gras Mask

$26.10  $9.72

Two tone blue masquerade mask with gold glitter... [Read more]

Brand: Mario Chiodo

Mask, Mardi Gras Tall Feather

Mask, Mardi Gras Tall Feather

$19.90  $8.91

Mardi Gras Feather Mask [Read more]

Brand: Morris

Red Masquerade Mask

Red Masquerade Mask

$12.99

Get ready for the ball when you wear this Red M... [Read more]

Brand: Spirit Halloween

Mask, Mardi Gras Sequin Feather

Mask, Mardi Gras Sequin Feather

$17.90  $7.91

Mardi Gras Sequin Feather Mask. It has an elast... [Read more]

Brand: Morris

Black And White Pierrot Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Black And White Pierrot Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$21.34  $10.67

This black and white Pierrot Mask is a molded m... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Beaded Masquerade Mask

Beaded Masquerade Mask

$63.00  $26.97

Beaded masquerade mask. [Read more]

Brand: Roma Costume

Red Venetian Mask with Hat - Mardi Gras Costumes

Red Venetian Mask with Hat - Mardi Gras Costumes

$41.24  $20.62

Red Venetian Mask with partial Hat - Hat snaps ... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Majestic Mardi Gras Mask - Mardi Gras Costumes

Majestic Mardi Gras Mask - Mardi Gras Costumes

$15.39  $7.70

This Majestic Mardi Gras Costume Accessory Mask... [Read more]

Brand: Franco

Venetian Leopard Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Venetian Leopard Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$18.69  $9.35

This Venetian half mask is bejeweled and is leo... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Black Bat Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Black Bat Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$24.08  $12.04

This half mask is black and shaped like a bat a... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Butterfly Masquerade Mask

Butterfly Masquerade Mask

$28.80  $9.10

Butterfly shaped masquerade mask with purple an... [Read more]

Brand: Mario Chiodo

Peacock Mask - Mardi Gras Masks

Peacock Mask - Mardi Gras Masks

$20.79  $10.40

This Peacock Mask would go great with a Mardi G... [Read more]

Brand: Fun World

Blue With Gold Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Blue With Gold Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$40.25  $20.13

Dress up your costume with this half mask that ... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Masquerade Mask

Masquerade Mask

$90.00  $30.10

Masquerade mask. [Read more]

Brand: Roma Costume

Tri Color Comedy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Tri Color Comedy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$26.39  $13.20

For a festive and multi colored mask try this T... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

Pink Feline Fancy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

Pink Feline Fancy Mask - Mardi Gras Or Masquerade Masks

$24.19  $12.10

This pink Feline Fancy Mask is the perfect way ... [Read more]

Brand: Forum

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