The Jester or named Jolly, it is typical for its floppy six pointed hat. Another distinctive feature of the Jolly is its constant laughter, also known as the Fool or ‘Buffone’ is one of the best known characters in drama the world over. First mentioned in ancient Roman times, the character is most closely associated with the Middle Ages. The Jester’s aim is to entertain and to point out the weaknesses of other characters – a kind of early satirist. In some early plays the Jester’s mask was a donkey’s head and the ‘Buffone’ mask reflects this. It’s a particularly distinctive one : it has ‘tines’ or points both above and below the head, each one finished with a tiny bell. The tines are thought to represent the ears of an ass; the bells are to indicate fun and frolics.
Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice, Italy. The masks are typically worn during the Carnival (Carnival of Venice), but have been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer’s identity and social status. The mask would permit the wearer to act more freely in cases where he or she wanted to interact with other members of the society outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. It was useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit or criminal, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.
Near the end of the Republic, the wearing of masks in daily life was severely restricted. By the 18th century, it was limited only to about three months from December 26. The masks were traditionally worn with decorative beads matching in colour.
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