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Mask making and mask festivals are among the oldest and most honoured Italian traditions associated with the ancient rites of Carnevale or Mardi Gras, the festival that preceded Lent, and with the Italian theatre. More than 100,000 people flock to Italy each February to celebrate Carnivale in the weeks preceding Lent.

For a delightful look into the past, see the 1992 film production of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson, and a colourful masked ball with typical masks of the period, set in a beautiful Tuscan villa in 17th. century Italy.

MAGIC MASKS. In addition to masquerades and annual Carnivale, masks today are used by theatre companies and schools of drama, to demonstrate how the mask can help performers to develop a character. When wearing the Neutral mask, (without any facial expression), the actor must use the rest of his body to define the character he is playing.
By putting on a mask the person assumes a new character. The old can become young again, and the young, old.

There is magic in a mask!
Florentine Masks are designed and decorated at the famous bottega of Firenze of Papier Maché in Florence, Italy, by famed artist Bijan, and crafted in the traditional manner. Made of strong papier maché, they are lightweight and easy to wear or to hang on a wall. Each mask is individually hand decorated and signed.

The mask decoration ranges from real gold and silver leaf, mixed gold and silver, bronze effect, antique gold, antique white; etching or drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, or Michelangelo, to painting of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Hogarth, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Bosch and other classical painters. Masks of the Commedia dell'Arte and other historical characters are available in all the finishes above, including the traditional Fantasy design in black, red, and gold.

Masks come in many sizes, from small face masks to full size head masks and hand-held 'stick' masks. Sections of Michelangelo's famous statue Davide, the world famous landmark in Florence, is available in many oversize sculptural wall decorations and a range of regular sizes.
Not all pieces are masks but they are interior designer's delight. They make fantastic wall displays for homes, offices, hotels, clubs, schools and restaurants etc. Sizes range from 6 inches to 5ft!

Masks make wonderful gifts! Especially for the person who is hard to please or likes the unusual - great gifts for weddings, house warmings, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries, Halloween, Valentine's Day and Christmas...or start your own collection!
Each mask is hand decorated, lined, and has ribbons attached for fitting to the wearer.