The Harlequin and His Mask

A Harlequin, or alrecchino, is most commonly recognized as a comical character from the famous theatrical performance, the Italian Commedia dell’Arte. The first appearance of the harlequin was during the 16th century. There have been a number of theories attempting to describe the origins of the harlequin, which really adds to his mystery. Some say the harlequin came from Italy, while others believe he was originally French.

The general idea of a harlequin is a slow-thinking yet energetic figure. He has been associated with stupidity but throughout history, the harlequin has proved to be lively and witty. He was an entertainer, an acrobat to be more specific. He would never resort to simple and reserved acts of entertainment. He was the one performing the back flips and other acrobats as well as putting himself in mischievous situations. In other words, he possessed a very clown-like persona.

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Venezianisch Harlequin doll Deco porcelain Vintage!
Venezianisch Harlequin doll Deco porcelain Vintage!
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Vtg Barbie Doll #1150 Color Magic Harlequin Diamond Swimsuit Tagged Original HTF
Vtg Barbie Doll #1150 Color Magic Harlequin Diamond Swimsuit Tagged Original HTF
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Harlequin doll Deco porcelain Vintage Pierrot
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LOL Surprise Doll Lights Glitter Harley Quinn Harlequin Girl Still Sealed
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LOL Surprise Lights Glitter Drip Drop, Harlequin, Surreal 3 Doll LOT Open New
LOL Surprise Lights Glitter Drip Drop, Harlequin, Surreal 3 Doll LOT Open New
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Harlequin Doll Very good condition and beautifully attired with lace collar
Harlequin Doll Very good condition and beautifully attired with lace collar
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PORCELAIN HARLEQUIN DOLL==== ELEGANCE IN LIGHT BLUE   Approx. 16
PORCELAIN HARLEQUIN DOLL==== ELEGANCE IN LIGHT BLUE Approx. 16" TALL
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Disney Store Nightmare Before Christmas 15
Disney Store Nightmare Before Christmas 15" Harlequin Demon posable plush doll
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The arlecchino was a subservient character in all of his acts. One will immediately recognize the harlequin due to his colorful outfit that was created with patches of diamond checkered fabric. Typical colors of a harlequin outfit are blue, green and red. The harlequin mask is the most significant aspect of the ensemble. The mask is usually black or white and has a low forehead along with a wart. It is meant to cover the eyes and the area around them only. These masks were often accompanied by jester hats that had bells attached at the ends. As the harlequin would walk around he would carry a slapstick with him too.

Arlecchino usually had a love interest by the name of Columbine in the Commedia dell’Arte, but he was not always able to woo her. He was a poor soul often hungry for food and thirsty for lust. While he was physically alive and energetic, his mind was rather sluggish. He could not multi-task in his mind and his thoughts were limited. In the Commedia dell’Arte, the harlequin falls for a number of strange traps that he brings upon himself.

The high-spirited and clever harlequin often appears in theatrical performances known as harlequinades. He is always caught in tight situations and is never the one to seek revenge. He often wears a black mask that he can lift in order to reveal himself.

The character of the harlequin has evolved numerous times over the centuries. The 18th Century, however, brought an end to the fantasy and witty characteristics of the harlequin. He became less complex and more one-dimensional.

The Harlequin reappears in modern culture in literature, music, cinema and celebrations. Pop culture has really embraced this acrobatic figure in movies such as Moulin Rouge and Batman. The Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a popular arena for venerating the story and character of the harlequin. They are still dressed in diamond patterned one-piece outfits and decorative masks. The masks are often covered with feathers and decorations. The harlequin masks cover the true identity of the figure behind it and it represents the complex nature of the persona. No one could ever really understand the harlequin.

Black Feather Masks

Beautiful black feather masquerade masks for sale. Each masquerade mask is distinct in shape and style, and it is common to match the color of your mask with the rest of your costume or clothing. Find the perfect black feather mask to wear during Mardi Gras, Carnival, or a masquerade party by browsing the many types of black feather masks below.

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Feathered Mask Masquerade Peacock Feather New Purple Green Yellow Black
Feathered Mask Masquerade Peacock Feather New Purple Green Yellow Black
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Red & Black Mardi Gras Feathered Mask W/ Feather Tassels
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Handmade Anime Cartoon Inspire Expression Cotton Face Mask Cover Black
Handmade Anime Cartoon Inspire Expression Cotton Face Mask Cover Black
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Handmade 100% Cotton 2 Layer Face Mask, Pocket for Filter Washable
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Masquerade Mask Women Black Feather Lion Costume Carnivale New Years Ball Brazil
Masquerade Mask Women Black Feather Lion Costume Carnivale New Years Ball Brazil
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BLACK MASQUERADE FEATHER MASK COSTUME/PARTY
BLACK MASQUERADE FEATHER MASK COSTUME/PARTY
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Types & Styles

Types of Venetian Masks

Venetian masks were originally designed for all sorts of entertainment and games for the ruling class as well as lower classes. The masks held a symbolic purpose of disguising ones identity but they also served more functional purposes. Many of these purposes revolved around promiscuity, crime and other illicit behavior. Others wanted to free themselves from judgment and strict moral codes.

Mask-Makers and Guilds

The creation of thousands of masks would not have been possible without dedicated Venetian mask-makers. Also known as maschereri, these artisans were official members of a guild dedicated to crafting Venetian masks. They created various styles and shapes and decorated these masks with distinct features and aesthetic designs.

Venetian Mask Styles

There are three major types of Venetian Masks—the Bauta, Larva and Moretta. The Bauta was worn by men and women and was attached to a black mantle as well as a tricorn hat. The mask itself is white and completely covers the face, making it difficult to eat and speak. This was the ideal mask for the most mischievous behavior. The Larva, or Volto, is similar to the Bauta in that it is covered in white paint. These masks were made of fine wax cloth and were lighter in nature. The wearer can comfortably eat, drink and dance while remaining anonymous. They resembled a ghost lurking in the depths of the night. The Moretta was a black mask worn by women who visited convents. They held the mask in place by biting on to a button in the mouth. This prevented them from speaking.

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Creepy Rabbit Venetian Mask
Creepy Rabbit Venetian Mask
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Venetian Goddess Brocade Lace Masquerade Mask with Rhinestones Silver
Venetian Goddess Brocade Lace Masquerade Mask with Rhinestones Silver
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Authentic Venetian Mask Made in Italy, with stamp hand painted
Authentic Venetian Mask Made in Italy, with stamp hand painted
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Black Venetian Peacock Feather Mask Women Masquerade Half Face Party Eye Mask
Black Venetian Peacock Feather Mask Women Masquerade Half Face Party Eye Mask
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Turquoise Venetian Masquerade Mask w/Feathers Party Prom Mardi Gras Halloween
Turquoise Venetian Masquerade Mask w/Feathers Party Prom Mardi Gras Halloween
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Grand Jester Venetian Masquerade Mask
Grand Jester Venetian Masquerade Mask
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Masquerade Mask Men Mardi Gras Venetian Party Half Face Roman White Gold Mask
Masquerade Mask Men Mardi Gras Venetian Party Half Face Roman White Gold Mask
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Venetian Unpainted Masquerade Ball Party DIY White Mask for Halloween Costume
Venetian Unpainted Masquerade Ball Party DIY White Mask for Halloween Costume
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Venetian Women Party Cosplay Mask Costume Sexy Devil Ram Krampus Horn Masquerade
Venetian Women Party Cosplay Mask Costume Sexy Devil Ram Krampus Horn Masquerade
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Luxury Bauta Light Filigree Metal Venetian Masquerade Mask for Men [Gold]
Luxury Bauta Light Filigree Metal Venetian Masquerade Mask for Men [Gold]
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Black Skull Venetian Masquerade Eye Mask for Men Mardi Gras Prom Ball Party
Black Skull Venetian Masquerade Eye Mask for Men Mardi Gras Prom Ball Party
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Devil Horn Masquerade Mask Halloween Venetian Costume Party Cosplay Party
Devil Horn Masquerade Mask Halloween Venetian Costume Party Cosplay Party
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Venetian masks range from half masks, full face masks as well as head masks. Each one is distinct in shape and style. Head masks are attached to head pieces and other parts of the costume while full-face masks and half-masks are detachable. Full-face masks and head-masks are also more elaborate and decorated. They were the preferred choice among the troubling types. The more the face is covered, the more mystical the wearer becomes.

The Art of Masquerade Masks

Images of Masquerade Party MasksThe modern revival of masquerade masks is deeply rooted in craftsmanship and the artistic qualities of the masks. While these agents of disguise originated in Venice they have been welcomed in other parts of the world including the rest of Europe and the Americas. Each region has its own style and culture surrounding these masks.

When masquerades were popular, Venetian mask-makers, or maschereri, established a guild in the early 15th century and began producing decorative masks. Attention to detail was a critical part of creating these masks and there was a range of types and styles.

There are three different types of masks including the Bauta, Moretta and Larva.

  • Bauta: These masks were originally created for the Carnival and they come in two forms. One covers the entire face while the other covers the upper area of the face.
  • Moretta: These masks originated in France and were constructed using black velvet. They were worn by women who visited convent and were attached to a veil.
  • Larva: Also known as the volto, these masks were typically white and originated in Venice. The shape is similar to the Bauta but the mask itself is made of wax cloth. They were more comfortable for dancing, eating and mingling.

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Bauta Masquerade Mask Silver Lace
Bauta Masquerade Mask Silver Lace
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Bauta Mask With Black Glitter Venetian Mask Grey Leopard
Bauta Mask With Black Glitter Venetian Mask Grey Leopard
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Bauta Mask With Black Glitter Venetian Mask Yellow Leopard
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Lace
Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Lace
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Detailing
Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Detailing
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The original mask was created by Venetians and the mask-makers used two different methods. Papier mache was the first method which combined glue and paper strips to form the shape of the mask. These masks were generally designed to be held by a stick and to only cover the eyes. In order to create full-face masks, the artists used clay to produce molds. The mask-makers applied specialized paint and added all sorts of decorative elements including gems, beads, ribbons, natural feathers and dazzling gold leaf.

Color was a significant part of the design. Bright blues, reds, yellows, oranges and greens were the most common choices. Generally, males would wear darker colors while women would wear lighter ones. Customized masks were also possible, resulting in a vast array of unique masquerade masks. The masks were accompanied by highly elaborate and ornamental masquerade costumes during the celebrations.

The original masks were symbolic and simple. Over time, masquerade masks became more and more complex. Masquerade masks have not only been used for entertainment but they have also allowed people to hide their identities in order to participate in various activities including romantic ventures and even crime.

Black Masquerade Masks

Every masquerade mask is distinct in shape and style, and it is common to match the color of your mask with the rest of your costume or clothing. Find the perfect black mask to wear during Mardi Gras, Carnival, or a masquerade party by browsing the many types of black feather masks below.

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Black Venetian Masquerade Roman Greek w/ Pegasus Horse Feather Party Men's Mask
Black Venetian Masquerade Roman Greek w/ Pegasus Horse Feather Party Men's Mask
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Sexy Black Masquerade Ball Eye Mask Venetian Costume Dance Prom Mardi Gras Party
Sexy Black Masquerade Ball Eye Mask Venetian Costume Dance Prom Mardi Gras Party
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Black Leather Mask Masquerade Lone Ranger Superhero Costume UNISEX
Black Leather Mask Masquerade Lone Ranger Superhero Costume UNISEX
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Steampunk Respirator Skull Gas Hose Masquerade Mask for Men Black
Steampunk Respirator Skull Gas Hose Masquerade Mask for Men Black
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Latex Adult Black Panther Mask Superhero Helmet Masquerade Cosplay Props Gifts
Latex Adult Black Panther Mask Superhero Helmet Masquerade Cosplay Props Gifts
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Black Leather Masquerade Mask for Men M33173
Black Leather Masquerade Mask for Men M33173
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Spike Masquerade Eye Mask Birthday Bachelor Steampunk Costume Halloween Party
Spike Masquerade Eye Mask Birthday Bachelor Steampunk Costume Halloween Party
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Anastasia Inspired Sexy Lace Masquerade Ball Mask with Rhinestones [Black]
Anastasia Inspired Sexy Lace Masquerade Ball Mask with Rhinestones [Black]
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Silver Masquerade Mask

Elegant silver masquerade masks for sale from around the world. A silver mask look sharp and goes well with any black outfit. Clicking the links below will open a new window in your browser with a full description of the silver masquerade mask for sale on eBay.

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Venetian Brocade Lace Mardi Gras Prom Masquerade Mask with Rhinestones [Silver]
Venetian Brocade Lace Mardi Gras Prom Masquerade Mask with Rhinestones [Silver]
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Adult Jeweled Silver Party Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball Costume Moon Mask
Adult Jeweled Silver Party Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball Costume Moon Mask
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Silver Men's Feather Venetian Masquerade Party Mask Prom Mardi Gras Costume
Silver Men's Feather Venetian Masquerade Party Mask Prom Mardi Gras Costume
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Venetian Mardi Gras Steampunk Cat Halloween Masquerade Mask Goggle Silver Gears
Venetian Mardi Gras Steampunk Cat Halloween Masquerade Mask Goggle Silver Gears
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Dark Blue Silver Venetian Mask Masquerade Mardi Gras Halloween
Dark Blue Silver Venetian Mask Masquerade Mardi Gras Halloween
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Women Princess Masquerade Mask Embellished with Gems Lace Mardi Gras Silver Grey
Women Princess Masquerade Mask Embellished with Gems Lace Mardi Gras Silver Grey
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Steampunk Respirator Gas Mask Jaw Mouth Mask Bullet Masquerade Halloween Party
Steampunk Respirator Gas Mask Jaw Mouth Mask Bullet Masquerade Halloween Party
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Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Full Face Party Mask Feather Costume For Women
Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Full Face Party Mask Feather Costume For Women
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