Venetian papier-mâché mask

We can be found in Venice craftsmen who love own work, and that they want to share with interested or curious people. Venetian masks represent Venice and all that world of mystery that was around since 1700.

The papier-mâché mask made by hand is then decorated with acrylic paint and imitation gold leaf, and then finish it with  paints. The end result, in this case, creates a lively and elegant decoration.

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Plague Doctor

The origin of the Doctor’s costume is French, dating back to the sixteenth century. The plague was present throughout Europe and arrived in Venice around 1500. At that time people built votive temples as the Redentore and Madonna della Salute, there was also a very fragile health organization and poor hygiene.
The Doctor of the plague makes its appearance in Venice at the behest of the Doge and he tries to cure this disease in different way. He wore a linen tunic or a black oilcloth to prevent infectious miasma to settle on his clothing.
He used a stick to lift the sheets without coming into contact with objects and unhealthy bodies.
Besides that it also had a black hat, glasses with glass lenses and a beak (the doctor’s mask Plague) that was filled with fragrant essences and disinfectants such as mint, basil, rosemary.
This professional prowled the streets of Venice to try to limit the thousands of victims.
The carnival  relieves this frightening symbol of death.

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Origin of the Venetian cat mask

The first reason for the multitude of cats in Venice in the past centuries was due to the invasion of rats in the city.
These, carriers of various diseases had arrived from the ships to the port, and they reproduced with such a speed that Venice was invaded by them in a short period of time. The poor hygienic condition in which  the Venetian inhabitants lived was breeding grounds for the  rats.
Just to say that the plague epidemic of  1500 caused by rats, led to the deaths of nearly 1/3 of the population.
Towards the end of 1400 the Venetians found a simple and ingenious way to dramatically decrease the invasion.
They shipped loads of cats from Dalmatia, who had no choice but to hunt mice and doze in the sun. The outcome was positive.
That’s why among the various Venetian masks are also the cat, an animal that has been helpful to Venice for many centuries.
Today it is not so, after a careful design of cat sterilization.
It ‘nice to think that in any case our Italian cats  have in their genes Asian ancestors .

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