Masks displayed on the shop-window in Venice.
Masks have always been a main feature of the Venetian carnival.Traditionally people were allowed to wear them between the festival of Santo Stefano (St. Stephen's Day, December 26) and the start of the carnival season and midnight of Shrove Tuesday. They have always been around Venice. As masks were also allowed on Ascension and from October 5 to Christmas, people could spend a large proportion of the year in disguise . Maskmakers (mascherari) enjoyed a special position in society, with their own laws and their own guild.
The use of masks during the life of the Venetian Republic remains one of mankind's notably eccentric practices. Indeed, masks have been worn in cultures throughout the world for thousands of years, but perhaps never with such fervent pageantry as in Venice.For approximately eight hundred years, the Republic enjoyed a position of unrivaled superiority. Considered a breed apart from its European cousins, Venice was unquestionably the most extravagant, most beautiful state on the Continent. The shipyards were capable of turning out a battleship every thirty days and employed 15,000 men (in a state with a scarce 150,000 people). The routes of trade under the Republic's control extended all the way to Constantinople and beyond in the form of varied and extensive caravans, sultanates, and "friends". The Republic did not hold these routes uncontested for any long stretches of time - it was under constant duress from rival states. But hold them it did. As a result, as Marco Polo said, "All the gold in Christendom flows through the hands of the Venetians." Each citizen in Venice enjoyed a high standard of living. Everyone was part of the great economic machine that was the Republic. Venice was capitalizing on its position, on its gains, long before its contemporaries had realized the value of a market economy. With a level of social wealth unequaled since, the citizens of Venice developed a unique culture - one in which the concealing of the identity in daily life became paramount to daily activity. Part of the secrecy was pragmatic: there were things to do, people to see, and perhaps you might not want others to know what deals you were cutting. After all, the city is relatively small. Additionally, the masks served an important social purpose of keeping every citizen on an equal playing field. Masked, a servant could be mistaken for a nobleman - or vice versa. State inquisitors and spies could question citizens without fear of their true identity being discovered (and citizens could answer without fear of retribution). The morale of the people was maintained through the use of masks - for with no faces, everyone had voices.
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Noel_Byrne (7374) 2012-10-12 5:33
Very nice capture. there is something so mysterious, and in a way, creepy about these masks. They feature so much in movies, and in almost all of them, something sinister or underhanded is afoot. I dont see these in real life very often, but as Halloween approaches, I will no doubt see one or two. I always feel them to be a very elegant and thoughtful type of costume. Your ntoe is briliant too, thanks for this, as I have learned a lot from that.
Have a great Friday!
SWEETFREEDOM (18417) 2012-10-12 10:38
very nice mask, good light management and details.
jhm (122458) 2012-10-13 1:10
Masks has always a spooky feeling.
You took an colorfully image of these masks.
Sharpness and clarity are perfect.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice weekend,
Sonata11 (28341) 2012-10-14 14:56
wow!!!! what a spectacular musk. An amazingly beautiful shop window. Wonderfully executed image with beautiful colors, sharpness, clarity. I like this photo a lot, very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
All the best,
delpeoples (44960) 2012-10-18 2:30
Namaskar dear Arunava
Excellent shot of these intricate and beautifully coloured masks. I like the warm light and the squarish framing. Personally, I would have cropped out the credit card sticker on the left, but this is a small issue. Nice work, thanks for sharing.