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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Vintage PORCELAIN HARLEQUIN DOLL Black/ Gold dress handpainted 17
Vintage PORCELAIN HARLEQUIN DOLL Black/ Gold dress handpainted 17" soft body
$79.95
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3 HARLEQUIN Porcelain Doll Mardi Gras Brocade Dress Jester Sad Clown
3 HARLEQUIN Porcelain Doll Mardi Gras Brocade Dress Jester Sad Clown
$50.00
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VTG ART DECO PORCELAIN GERMANY LADY HARLEQUIN DRESSER DOLL FIGURINE BOUDOIR LAMP
VTG ART DECO PORCELAIN GERMANY LADY HARLEQUIN DRESSER DOLL FIGURINE BOUDOIR LAMP
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Pierrot Harlequin Doll with White Fur Masquerade Mardi Gra wind up Musical Box
Pierrot Harlequin Doll with White Fur Masquerade Mardi Gra wind up Musical Box
$43.00
16
16" Porcelain Harlequin, Jester, Musical, Pierrot, Mardi Gras Doll, Green/Gold
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Disney Store Nightmare Before Christmas 15
Disney Store Nightmare Before Christmas 15" Harlequin Demon posable plush doll
$42.00
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Christmas Harlequin Doll Style A
Christmas Harlequin Doll Style A
$35.75
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Porcelain and Cloth Harlequin Doll Crinkle Rainbow Jumpsuit with Head Dress 17
Porcelain and Cloth Harlequin Doll Crinkle Rainbow Jumpsuit with Head Dress 17"
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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.

Green Feather Mask

Light green to dark Emerald green feathered Masquerade masks for sale. Get the perfect green feathered mask to wear during Mardi Gras, Carnival, or a masquerade party by browsing the many types of feather masks below. Clicking the links below will open a new window in your browser with a full description of the green feathered masquerade mask for sale on eBay.

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Venetian Green Velvet Feathered Mardi Gras Mask Adult
Venetian Green Velvet Feathered Mardi Gras Mask Adult
$18.38
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Feathered Mask Masquerade Feather New Purple Green Yellow
Feathered Mask Masquerade Feather New Purple Green Yellow
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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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Mask Venetian Mask Masquerade Feathered Mask 4 Multi Colors To Choose From
Mask Venetian Mask Masquerade Feathered Mask 4 Multi Colors To Choose From
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Adult Orange & Green Feather Eye Mask
Adult Orange & Green Feather Eye Mask
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Green Feather Black Metal Venetian Masquerade Mask with Green Stones
Green Feather Black Metal Venetian Masquerade Mask with Green Stones
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12
12" Green Feather Mask Mardi Gras Festive Costume Accessories Props
$11.95
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Marcia Feathered Mask Green
Marcia Feathered Mask Green
$8.99
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Purple Feather Mask

Elegant purple or lavender feathers masquerade masks for sale. Match your mask to your outfit with these mysterious purple feathered mask to wear during Mardi Gras, Carnival, or a masquerade party by browsing the many purple and lavender feather masks below. Clicking the links below will open a new window in your browser with a full description of the purple feathered masquerade mask for sale on eBay.

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Purple Venetian Carnival Masquerade Top Feather Eye Mask Mardi Gras For Women
Purple Venetian Carnival Masquerade Top Feather Eye Mask Mardi Gras For Women
$42.00
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Purple Venice Carnival Peacock Feather Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Party Mask
Purple Venice Carnival Peacock Feather Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Party Mask
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Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Purple/Gold]
Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Purple/Gold]
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Feathered Mask Masquerade Feather New Purple Green Yellow
Feathered Mask Masquerade Feather New Purple Green Yellow
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Mask Venetian Mask Masquerade Feathered Mask 4 Multi Colors To Choose From
Mask Venetian Mask Masquerade Feathered Mask 4 Multi Colors To Choose From
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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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Purple Masquerade Feather Lace Mask Fantasy Flapper Costume Mardi Gras Carnival
Purple Masquerade Feather Lace Mask Fantasy Flapper Costume Mardi Gras Carnival
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Elegant Purple Feather Mask Masquerade Mardi Gras New
Elegant Purple Feather Mask Masquerade Mardi Gras New
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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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Gold Black Venetian Mask for His & Hers Couple Party Feather Masquerade Costume
Gold Black Venetian Mask for His & Hers Couple Party Feather Masquerade Costume
$23.00
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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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His & Her Couple Masquerade Mask Phantom Feather for Party Prom Dance Black Gold
His & Her Couple Masquerade Mask Phantom Feather for Party Prom Dance Black Gold
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Black Venetian Carnival Masquerade Top Feather Women Sexy Eye Mask Mardi Gras
Black Venetian Carnival Masquerade Top Feather Women Sexy Eye Mask Mardi Gras
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Venetian Party Masquerade Mardi Gras Tall Feather Mask for Men Dark Gold Black
Venetian Party Masquerade Mardi Gras Tall Feather Mask for Men Dark Gold Black
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Feathered Mask Masquerade Peacock Feather New Purple Green Yellow Black
Feathered Mask Masquerade Peacock Feather New Purple Green Yellow Black
$20.00
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Feathered Masquerade Masks

Beautiful feather adorned 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 feathered mask to wear during Mardi Gras, Carnival, or a masquerade party by browsing the many types of feather masks below. Clicking the links below will open a new window in your browser with a full description of the feathered masquerade masks for sale on eBay.

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Purple Venetian Carnival Masquerade Top Feather Eye Mask Mardi Gras For Women
Purple Venetian Carnival Masquerade Top Feather Eye Mask Mardi Gras For Women
$42.00
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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
$19.99
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Gold Black Venetian Mask for His & Hers Couple Party Feather Masquerade Costume
Gold Black Venetian Mask for His & Hers Couple Party Feather Masquerade Costume
$23.00
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His & Her Couple Masquerade Mask Phantom Feather for Party Prom Dance Black Gold
His & Her Couple Masquerade Mask Phantom Feather for Party Prom Dance Black Gold
$20.00
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Silver Ancient Venetian Mardi Gras Party Costume Mask Feather Masquerade for Men
Silver Ancient Venetian Mardi Gras Party Costume Mask Feather Masquerade for Men
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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
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Fuchsia Red Feathered Dream Ceramic MASK Mardi Gras 5 Inch Feather Lady
Fuchsia Red Feathered Dream Ceramic MASK Mardi Gras 5 Inch Feather Lady
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Purple Venice Carnival Peacock Feather Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Party Mask
Purple Venice Carnival Peacock Feather Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Party Mask
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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
$18.00
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Detailing
Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Detailing
$13.50
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Silver Detailing
Bauta Masquerade Mask Silver Detailing
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Green Argyle
Bauta Masquerade Mask Green Argyle
$13.50
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Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Lace
Bauta Masquerade Mask Black Lace
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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 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
$125.00
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Mardi Gras Mask Yellow Gold Plated Studs and Cufflinks Set
Mardi Gras Mask Yellow Gold Plated Studs and Cufflinks Set
$90.00
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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
$75.00
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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: Venetian Style Flamboyant Mardi Gras Maidens Carnevale Mask Wall Sculptures
Set: Venetian Style Flamboyant Mardi Gras Maidens Carnevale Mask Wall Sculptures
$148.48
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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
$75.00
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7 Solid Brass Colorful Mardi Gras Hanging Face Mask Set Wall Art
7 Solid Brass Colorful Mardi Gras Hanging Face Mask Set Wall Art
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His & Hers Mardi Gras Masks

his and hers masquerade ball masksElegant His & Hers Masquerade Ball masks for sale. These beautiful matching masks are great for Masquerade Balls and Mardi Gras Parties. These masks are usually silver or gold and are adorned with feathers for the ladies.

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His & Hers Venetian Laser Cut Mardi Gras Pair Couple Masquerade Mask Black
His & Hers Venetian Laser Cut Mardi Gras Pair Couple Masquerade Mask Black
$19.95
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His and Hers Couple Masquerade Mask Luxury Metal Red Theme Rhinestones
His and Hers Couple Masquerade Mask Luxury Metal Red Theme Rhinestones
$18.99
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His & Hers Couple Masquerade Mask, Silver & White Themed Venetian Mask
His & Hers Couple Masquerade Mask, Silver & White Themed Venetian Mask
$19.95
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His & Hers Couple's Phantom Masquerade Mask Black
His & Hers Couple's Phantom Masquerade Mask Black
$14.95
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Gold Black Venetian Mask for His & Hers Couple Party Feather Masquerade Costume
Gold Black Venetian Mask for His & Hers Couple Party Feather Masquerade Costume
$23.00
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His & Hers Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask, Gold Themed Roman Mask Couples Set
His & Hers Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask, Gold Themed Roman Mask Couples Set
$19.95
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Couples Masquerade Mask, His & Hers Set, Silver Masquerade Mask M31000, M33162
Couples Masquerade Mask, His & Hers Set, Silver Masquerade Mask M31000, M33162
$19.95
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Couples Masquerade Mask, His & Hers Set, Masquerade Mask Couple M31003, M31131
Couples Masquerade Mask, His & Hers Set, Masquerade Mask Couple M31003, M31131
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Mardi Gras Mask Wand

The wand mask is also known as the Columbine or Columbina mask. They are usually half masks and highly embellished with gold and other metals and feathers. The stick portion of these masks is used to hold the mask up to one's face. The Columbine, or wand mask was made popular by an actress named Columbina in the Commedia Dell'arte. Legend has it that the wand mask was designed for her because she was so beautiful that she did not want to completely cover her face when wearing a mask.

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Handheld Stick Mask, Women Gold Mardi Gras Metal Venetian Masquerade Mask
Handheld Stick Mask, Women Gold Mardi Gras Metal Venetian Masquerade Mask
$19.95
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Mardi Gras Mask with Feathers on Stick Masquerade
Mardi Gras Mask with Feathers on Stick Masquerade
$6.99
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Adult Mardi Gras Feather Stick Mask
Adult Mardi Gras Feather Stick Mask
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Multicolored Mardi Gras Pointed Feather Masquerade Eye Mask On a Stick 5805
Multicolored Mardi Gras Pointed Feather Masquerade Eye Mask On a Stick 5805
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Glittered Mardi Gras Mask with Stick #4 Mardi Gras Decorations Party Supplies
Glittered Mardi Gras Mask with Stick #4 Mardi Gras Decorations Party Supplies
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Jester Stick Mask Purple Decorate or Wear Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask Wall Hangin
Jester Stick Mask Purple Decorate or Wear Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask Wall Hangin
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Stick Mask feather Mardi Gras birthday Burlesque party Purple Masquerade Mask
Stick Mask feather Mardi Gras birthday Burlesque party Purple Masquerade Mask
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Mardi Gras Purple Masquerade ball mask pair school prom party Jester Stick Mask
Mardi Gras Purple Masquerade ball mask pair school prom party Jester Stick Mask
$32.03
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Peacock Masquerade Mask

Beautiful Peacock feather masquerade masks for sale. Exotic looking Peacock 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 Peacock feather masquerade mask for sale on eBay.

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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
$19.99
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Purple Venice Carnival Peacock Feather Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Party Mask
Purple Venice Carnival Peacock Feather Masquerade Venetian Mardi Gras Party Mask
$34.99
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Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Purple/Gold]
Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Purple/Gold]
$14.95
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Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Blue/Gold]
Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Blue/Gold]
$16.95
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Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Turquoise/Gold]
Women's Peacock Feathered Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask [Turquoise/Gold]
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Blue & Gold Peacock Feather Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask
Blue & Gold Peacock Feather Venetian Mardi Gras Masquerade Mask
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Venice Carnival Masquerade Peacock Feather Mardi Gras Costume Party Mask Blue
Venice Carnival Masquerade Peacock Feather Mardi Gras Costume Party Mask Blue
$39.99
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Feathered Mask Masquerade Peacock Feather New Purple Green Yellow Black
Feathered Mask Masquerade Peacock Feather New Purple Green Yellow Black
$20.00
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