It is said that masks are as old as Adam and Eve, where they masked themselves or “hid” from God because of their sinfulness. The earliest known masks in prehistoric artwork, however, is 30,000–40,000 years old, and the oldest excavated mask. 9,000 years old.
Since then, masks have been used for ceremonies, rituals, festivals, or performances. From circa 6,000 BC, the Shiva cult portrayed a god wearing a horned mask. The Greek Dionysus worshipers wore masks while cavorting outside their ordinary status. And in some Roman festivals, the roles of slaves and masters were switched–just before the slaves were killed.
Iroquois tribes of North America used healing masks but in the Himalayas, masks functioned as “mediators of supernatural forces.” (Wikipedia) The Yup’ik people of Alaska and Far East Russia use masks ranging from a three-inch finger mask to a ten-kilo mask which hangs from the ceiling. But the inspiration of the Selects’ masks in Daystealer was taken from the Carnival of Venice, dated back to 1268 AD, in which for a short while all people behind their masks were equal.
You can see a variety of masks at the Carnival of Venice. Among the most popular is the heavily-gilded Bauta which covers the entire face with an extra-long nose , thick brow, jutting chin, and no mouth. The woman’s version of the Bauta is the Columbina, a half mask of gold, silver, crystals, and feathers. First worn to prevent the spread of disease, the Medico della Peste (or Plague Doctor) sports a distinctive long beak. The Moretta muta (or Servetta muta) is a small black velvet oval mask with wide eye holes and no lips. It’s held in place with a bit between the woman’s teeth, rendering her mute.
In Daystealer the Select appear in the Angel Stadium to watch the Hologames. They wear identical white masks, and as the stadium turns into a jousting tournament, their masks transform as well. The simple masks used during medieval times were mostly for performances, which represented allegorical creatures in miracle plays. However, the spectators of the medieval tourney in Daystealer don holographic masks of the Renaissance to mirror their extravagant and opulent lifestyle under the dome.
If you were to create a mask that represents you, what would it look like?
- Intriguing Venetian Masks for Women (venetianmaskscollections.wordpress.com)
- Making Crappy Masks (graceofarhino.wordpress.com)
- The Mask We Wear – the Mask We Become (pastorspare.wordpress.com)