Old Venetian carnival mask

Q:  I am sending you pictures of a couple of painted light metal (possibly tole). I believe these could be 18th century Venetian masks.They remind me of the “Volto” type, just the mouth here is open. Do you have any information that could help?  Nicola, 1202

A:  Your research is correct. It is an old Volto character from the traditional Venetian masquerade. It is the most common style and can be seen at many parties around the Western world. Other Venetian mask characters would be the Bauta, Colombina, Plague Doctor, Pantalone, etc. I think both of your Voltos are very collectible. It sure would be nice to know when and where they were made. Of course, it’s very unlikely they go back as far as you suggested. Where did you buy them and how much did you pay? Inquiring minds want to know!  A


  • Nicola

    The masks were actually for sale as Japanese kabuki masks (but that has to be excluded!).

    I was wandering about the material. It looks tole to me (the light one used for example for the venetian lanterns) and not the traditional papier mache. I could not find any information about alternative materials such as this (but very very little informations are available on the internet). Do you have any information regarding this?
    Thank you !

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