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Venetian Jester Masks

Updated on June 23, 2014

Venetian Jester and Jolly Masks for Masquerades and Halloween

The Venetian jester mask is the classic male joker face with red and black velvet tines tipped with gold bells. This is handcrafted and fashioned after the centuries-old clown masks worn by professional actors in the traveling improvisational theater Commedia dell'Arte, (Italian, literally meaning "Artistic Comedy") which dominated European Theater from the sixteenth through the eighteenth century. There were also female jesters, but the most famous one was Mathurine, known for her barbed wit, who presided in the French court in the 17th century during the reigns of Henry II, Henry IV, and Louis XIII.

In the Medieval Ages, the jester held an important royal position in the King's court, not only as an entertainer but as an adviser, even on political matters of the kingdom. The jester was empowered to bluntly criticize anyone and anything without fear of retribution. He was the only privileged member of the royal staff who can tell it like it is, liven things up and influence social changes.

This lens is a tribute to the Venetian jester mask, one of the many different masks which make its appearance in Carnival of Venice and in modern day celebrations, like Mardi Gras, Halloween, masquerade balls, New Year's Eve, and proms.

Origin of masquerade masks

Italian masks dates back to 1162 when Doge Vitale Michieli won a victory over Ulrich II of Treven and a party took place--called "Carnevale"--to celebrate the event.

Masks and the Commedia dell'Arte links - Masks require gestural acting to indicate emotions

Masks were used in Commedia dell Arte for two reasons - one was to help identify the characters. Stock characters (the same characters are used in each show) in the street theaters were usually the masters, the servants and the lovers. Each character has his own distinct mask, mannerisms, and walk. The performances were improvised and revolved around the topics of adultery, jealousy, love and old age.

The second purpose of the masks was to limit the view of the actors, making them act out their emotions with improvised gestures within the contraint of the masks. While wearing the masks, the actors have to make the audience laugh without speaking, hence, gestural acting was the way the players created their characters and spoke to the audience.

Our Maschera del Galeone Carnival Mask - 9-point jolly mask

Our Maschera del Galeone Carnival Mask - 9-point jolly mask
Our Maschera del Galeone Carnival Mask - 9-point jolly mask

Fun, mystery, thriller with unlikely partners

Venetian Masks
Venetian Masks

The romance and mystery in Venice with believable and real characters will make it difficult to put the book down. Kim Fielding will bring you to Venice with all the details and descriptions as if you were really there.

 

A Fool's Hat

The Medieval floppy hat of the Jester or Fool originally had three points, symbolizing the asses' ears, nose and tail.

Joker Venetian Masks

The Joker is Wild!

'Il Buffone', or the Jester, is one of the most traditional and the most popular of Italian Carnevale masks. Venetian masks are sought after by collectors all over the world. These paper-mache masks are handcrafted, handpainted and decorated with the same attention to detail as the artisans of centuries ago. The velvelty tines tipped with the jingle bells is the signature look of the jester mask with or without the collars. All are proudly made in Venice, Italy and come with a certificate of authenticity.

Halloween Joker Venetian Mask

The Jolly is the female version of the Venetian Jester mask.

The Jolly is the female version of the Venetian Jester mask.
The Jolly is the female version of the Venetian Jester mask.

Jester and Jolly Masks

A Perfect Pairing for a masquerade ball

Create a sensation on your next New Year's Eve party. Come as a pair of jesters wearing these stunningly rich and expressive Venetian masks. And when the party is over, hang them as wall decors until the next occasion beckons you to put them on again. Handmade and elaborately decorated by artisans in Venice, Italy.

Masquerade Black Jester Wearable Mask for Men

Black Full Face Jolly Sinfonia Venetian Mask

Pink Jolly Arcobaleno + Bav Venetian Mask

The need to be masked

During the medieval times in the Republic of Venice, masks were worn to conceal the wearer's identity and social status. Mingling across social classes became rampant. Illicit, immoral and criminal activities became pervasive. This prompted the Catholic Church to outlaw the use of the masks.

A Gem of a Book loved by historians

Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic
Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic

Original, insightful and well-researched, this book will intrique with its well-written accounts of the custom of wearing masks in 18th century Venice. Aristocrats covered their faces to conceal their identities in public. The clergy, imposters, seducers, con-men, nobles participated in masking both inside and outside the carnival. Venetians from all walks of life mingled as equals when masked, breaking the rigid rules imposed by society.

 

Red Jolly Arcobaleno + Bav Venetian Mask

Red Flower Jolly Fiori Venetian Masquerade Mask

The Queen's own fool

La Jardiniere was a female jester who served at the court of Mary, Queen of Scotts who ruled England from 1553-1558.

Blue Gold Flower Jolly Fiori Venetian Masquerade Mask

Jane the Foole

Jane Foole was an English court jester of Queen Catherine Parr, Queen Mary I of England, and possibly Ann Boleyn in the 16th century.

Purple Jolly Lillo Venetian Masquerade Mask

Venetian masks made a comeback

The Fascist party banned the Venetian Carnival during the 1930's. In 1979, a group of art students and artisans revived the art of mask-making and revived the carnevale. Today, the annual "Carnival of Venice" is an internationally renowned event, celebrated by tourists and Venetians alike.

Green Jolly Arcobaleno + Bav Venetian Mask

Green Flower Jolly Fiori Venetian Masquerade Mask

Gold Venetian Jolly Masks

The Mardi Gras color Gold symbolizes Power

Gold emboldens any masquerade mask and adds richness and opulence. These are handpainted and decorated to add drama and make heads turn.

White Gold Jolly Lillo Venetian Masquerade Mask

Hedonism

The Venetian mask is the emblem of the Carnevale di Venezia (Carnival of Venice), a pageant and street fair celebrating hedonism.

Si Lucia Masquerade Jolly Ale Décor 2 Red Carnival Mask

Si Lucia Masquerade Jolly Roma Green Carnival Mask

Si Lucia Masquerade Venice By Hand Large

Salute Carnival Mask

Carnevale di Venezia (Carnival of Venice) - Life is a theater, we are all wearing a mask.

If you missed the yearly carnival in Venice, Italy, experience the magic and splendor of the celebration with these videos. The masks and the costumes are in every colors of the kaleidoscope, dazzling the eyes of the spectators and revelers. See for yourself. You may consider booking a trip there next year.

An Uplifting Book for Children

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle
The Jester Has Lost His Jingle

A jester wakes up to find that laughter is missing from the kingdom and went out with his companion, Pharley, to bring laughter back. It is a charming tale about how laughter can overcoming obstacles, pain, and suffering. Humor is needed to liven up a weary world. This is a charming book that will be retold and read many times over.

 

Pharley Doll Book companion

The Jester Has Lost His Jingle Jester & Pharley Doll (Toy Only)
The Jester Has Lost His Jingle Jester & Pharley Doll (Toy Only)

Do not forget Pharley when you purchase the book. Holding Pharley as the story is being read makes the experience so real for the kids.

 

Pack of 3 Red Fabric Pixie Fairy Jester with Nutcracker Christmas Ornaments 14"

Fun, lively and brings the jester to life

Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester around the World
Fools Are Everywhere: The Court Jester around the World

The jester or fool is a universal character all over the world - quick-witted, funny, outrageous. Historically, the jesters were hired by the royal court to humor the king, entertain the staff, mock, and even advise in matters of the kingdom. In China, India, and the Middle East, the colorful court jesters fulfilled human and social needs. Anecdotes, quotations, jokes, flip art, introduce the readers to little-known jesters who were catalysts to social changes.

 

How to Make your own Italian Mask

Step-by-step instructions here.

Take this quick poll - It is a human need to laugh

Standup comedians are the modern day jesters who crack jokes, criticize, cajole, and tell like it is, regarding every subject under the sun. The humor usually hits home for most of us. Yet, we continue to enjoy them. Robin Williams is one of my favorites.

Do you enjoy watching standup comedians?

See results

A Fun Read about Modern Day Jesters

A motley collection of jester legend and history, divided into sections by continent.

Jolly masks from eBay - Wear it on Halloween

Be the belle of the ball.

I would love you hear from you

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 19 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I was just looking at my pictures of these masks. We had so much fun trying out several of them.

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      We had the wonderful fortune to be in Venice last year just after Carnivale. Confetti still littered St. Mark's Square and the walk next to the Doge's Palace and Grand Canal. We did not buy any masks, but did see many while there. And we purchase a small mask of Murano Glass which we have displayed on our book case. Venice was our favorite city, topping Florence and Rome. And I would love to go back.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Thank you for publishing this info on the masks. Their history is fascinating.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We were in Venice in the spring and purchased the ones we liked. You have shown them here well.

    • Mamaboo LM profile image

      Mamaboo LM 5 years ago

      I am very fascinated by your lens. It's intriguing across the board. Thank you for your lens, and be blessed!

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 5 years ago

      Such a nice lens, enjoyed it very much.

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

      Gorgeous lens - I have always loved the Venetian carnivale masks. You have some absolutely gorgeous pictures here

    • nikitakapoor profile image

      nikitakapoor 5 years ago

    • GollyGearHope profile image

      Hope 5 years ago from Skokie, Illinois

      Enjoyed this lens enormously!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I *love* Venice's Carnival celebration - so beautiful, colorful, and classy. Blessed by a SquidAngel!