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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2 Vintage HARLEQUIN Porcelain Doll Mardi Gras Brocade Dress Jester Clown
2 Vintage HARLEQUIN Porcelain Doll Mardi Gras Brocade Dress Jester Clown
$34.95
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Christmas Harlequin Doll Style A
Christmas Harlequin Doll Style A
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Harlequin Porcelain Doll Bride White Train Veil Clown Suit Gold Choker 17 inch
Harlequin Porcelain Doll Bride White Train Veil Clown Suit Gold Choker 17 inch
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21” FABULOUS HARLEQUIN FAIRY DOLL on SWING LOVELY PAINTED FACE BLACK GOLD OUTFIT
21” FABULOUS HARLEQUIN FAIRY DOLL on SWING LOVELY PAINTED FACE BLACK GOLD OUTFIT
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Christmas Harlequin Doll Small Style B
Christmas Harlequin Doll Small Style B
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42” Rustie Porcelain Heirloom Doll Shadow Harlequin Dress 52/750
42” Rustie Porcelain Heirloom Doll Shadow Harlequin Dress 52/750
$250.00
Vintage PORCELAIN HARLEQUIN DOLL Black/ Gold dress handpainted 17
Vintage PORCELAIN HARLEQUIN DOLL Black/ Gold dress handpainted 17" soft body
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Vintage Harlequin Pierrot Jester Doll 18
Vintage Harlequin Pierrot Jester Doll 18" Porcelain Black & Silver
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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.

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 Black Detailing
Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Detailing
$12.82
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Silver Lace
Bauta Masquerade Mask Silver Lace
$17.10
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Lace
Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Lace
$17.10
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Green Argyle
Bauta Masquerade Mask Green Argyle
$12.82
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Violet Blue Argyle
Bauta Masquerade Mask Violet Blue Argyle
$12.82
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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.

Mardi Gras Masks as Art

The Mardi Gras Mask and Its Features

Image of blue venetian maskWhile Mardi Gras masks are being mass produced in modern times, thousands of people continue the tradition of creating handmade masks. This is an art form that has passed down from one generation to another and one culture to another. One can find original Mardi Gras masks from all parts of the world as collectible items or to wear during masked festivals.

Mardi Gras masks have been influenced from various Venetian masks from the 15th Century. This was the time where actual guilds were dedicated to the production of original handcrafted masquerade masks. Traditional masks, including Mardi Gras masks have decorative works of art. A lot of attention to detail and craftsmanship goes into making these disguises.

The most common type of Mardi Gras mask is the half-face one. This type generally covers the top portion of the face in order for the wearer to speak, eat and drink. These masks can be wrapped around the head using ribbon or can be attached to a stick. Individual wearers can then hold the masks and be able to reveal their identities as needed.

Bold and bright colors are typical of Mardi Gras. The traditional trio of colors for Mardi Gras in New Orleans is purple, yellow and green. Over time, participants of the celebrations began to wear masks of all sorts of colors and decorations. Mardi Gras masks are typically covered with bird feathers, beads, gems metallic paints, colorful designs and glitter. The more elaborate the masks are, the livelier the festival ultimately becomes.

By wearing a mask, individuals can conceal their identities from one another and participate in various acts with freedom. One is free from judgment and there is the opportunity to embody a different persona.

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Mardi Gras Mask Yellow Gold Plated Studs and Cufflinks Set
Mardi Gras Mask Yellow Gold Plated Studs and Cufflinks Set
$80.00
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Vintage Mardi Gras New Orleans Mask Graphic 1987 Blue Size Medium Tee Shirt
Vintage Mardi Gras New Orleans Mask Graphic 1987 Blue Size Medium Tee Shirt
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Set: Venetian Style Flamboyant Mardi Gras Maidens Carnevale Mask Wall Sculptures
Set: Venetian Style Flamboyant Mardi Gras Maidens Carnevale Mask Wall Sculptures
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Mardi Gras mask and collar set with purple ostrich and peacock feathers 1086 S
Mardi Gras mask and collar set with purple ostrich and peacock feathers 1086 S
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Mardi Gras Mask and Fleur De Lis and Beads Tuxedo Cummerbund and Bow Tie Set
Mardi Gras Mask and Fleur De Lis and Beads Tuxedo Cummerbund and Bow Tie Set
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Set of 2 Exclusive Italian Maidens of Mardi Gras Mask Artist Gabriella Veronese
Set of 2 Exclusive Italian Maidens of Mardi Gras Mask Artist Gabriella Veronese
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GRATEFUL DEAD MARDI GRAS MASK SKELETON SKULL 1993 FEB 21 22 23 CONCERT T SHIRT L
GRATEFUL DEAD MARDI GRAS MASK SKELETON SKULL 1993 FEB 21 22 23 CONCERT T SHIRT L
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Christopher Radko
Christopher Radko "MASK CAT RADE" Ornament Collar Mardi Gras Halloween Eye Mask
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Bronze Masquerade

Striking bronze masquerade masks for sale. Each fantastic 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 bronze mask to wear during Mardi Gras, Carnival, or a masquerade party by browsing the many shades of blue masks below.
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Copper Bronze Venetian Fall Feather Men's Masquerade Mask Party Mardi Gras Prom
Copper Bronze Venetian Fall Feather Men's Masquerade Mask Party Mardi Gras Prom
$13.99
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Bronze Steam Punk Metal Stud Phantom Half Face Halloween Masquerade Mask
Bronze Steam Punk Metal Stud Phantom Half Face Halloween Masquerade Mask
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New Steampunk Style Bronze Phantom of The Opera Mens Half Masquerade Mask Chains
New Steampunk Style Bronze Phantom of The Opera Mens Half Masquerade Mask Chains
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Bronze Flora Masquerade Mask with Clear Rhinestones
Bronze Flora Masquerade Mask with Clear Rhinestones
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Gold Bronze Masquerade Half Skull Wolf Mask Costume Prom Halloween Cosplay Party
Gold Bronze Masquerade Half Skull Wolf Mask Costume Prom Halloween Cosplay Party
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Big Lashes Bronze Filigree Masquerade Mask With Clear Rhinestones
Big Lashes Bronze Filigree Masquerade Mask With Clear Rhinestones
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Bronze Sexy Space Filigree Masquerade Mask with Clear Rhinestones
Bronze Sexy Space Filigree Masquerade Mask with Clear Rhinestones
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Masquerade Mask New Steampunk Bronze Evil Genius Scientist Halloween Costume
Masquerade Mask New Steampunk Bronze Evil Genius Scientist Halloween Costume
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Blue Masquerade Mask

Beautiful blue feather masquerade masks for sale. Exotic looking blue feather masks are great for Mardi Gras, Carnival, or a masquerade party. Clicking the links below will open a new window in your browser with a full description of the Blue Masquerade Mask for sale on eBay.

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Lace Masquerade Ball Mask Birthday Burlesque School Dance Prom Birthday Party
Lace Masquerade Ball Mask Birthday Burlesque School Dance Prom Birthday Party
$13.56
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Women's Venetian Lace Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask with Rainbow Gems [Blue]
Women's Venetian Lace Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask with Rainbow Gems [Blue]
$12.95
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Mens Musical Phantom of the Opera Venetian Classic Masquerade Ball Mask [Blue]
Mens Musical Phantom of the Opera Venetian Classic Masquerade Ball Mask [Blue]
$19.95
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Blue Side Feather Venice Carnival Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Women Eye Mask
Blue Side Feather Venice Carnival Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Women Eye Mask
$29.99
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Lace Masquerade Mask, Venetian Macrame Lace Mask for Women LM006 Royal Blue
Lace Masquerade Mask, Venetian Macrame Lace Mask for Women LM006 Royal Blue
$12.30
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Spiderman Mask with LED Blue Light for Masquerade Party Halloween Cosplay Toy
Spiderman Mask with LED Blue Light for Masquerade Party Halloween Cosplay Toy
$8.99
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Venetian Mardi Gras Jester Joker Masquerade Mask for Men Red Blue
Venetian Mardi Gras Jester Joker Masquerade Mask for Men Red Blue
$32.25
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Carnival Large Feather Masquerade Mask Mardi Gras Blue Feathers
Carnival Large Feather Masquerade Mask Mardi Gras Blue Feathers
$40.80
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