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Carnival - Columbina

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The tradition of the mask started in the 13th century when Venetians would hold celebrations and parties from December 26th until the start of Lent and wear elaborate masks to conceal their identity. These parties were the only time when the lower and upper classes mingled together. Aristocrats and peasants, disguised by their masks, played out their fantasies together. They indulged in illicit activities like gambling, clandestine affairs, political assassination, and dancing and partying the night away. There are several mask styles that are distinctly Venetian.

One of the first actresses in the Commedia dell'arte felt her face was much to beautiful to cover completely, and so instead wore a half-mask especially designed for her. The mask type quickly became popular and nowadays is highly decorated with gold, silver, crystal, and feathers.

This gold Venetian handmade paper mache mask in Columbina style has a traditional feather adornment.

Donated By Suzanne Metzger