Masks date back thousands of years and although they were believed to have originated as a form of a religious ritual, masks slowly transitioned into artistic displays.
In today’s world a mask is used as a way to dress up and pretend to be someone or something other than we are or to present an air of mystery by hiding our true identity.
Masks have also evolved into essential parts of a costume commonly used for celebrations such as Halloween and Mardi Gras or as part of a formal dress masquerade ball.
How do you pick the right mask?
Masks are constructed of three different basic materials. They are commonly made of paper, plastic or latex. The paper mask covers the face and will feature a photo print of a person, such as a celebrity, or a character of some kind on it. Think of a store bought Halloween mask to visualize what a paper mask is like.
The plastic mask is a molded cast in thin plastic that covers all or part of the face. The latex mask covers the entire head and will contain fair greater detail that the plastic or paper mask. The latex mask would be comparable to the more expensive ‘creature’ masks that appear around Halloween.
A masquerade mask is the oldest type of mask. These have been used for centuries in Europe and are typically an eye mask that covers just the eyes and sometimes part of the face. They are made of cloth and paper mache in classic versions with contemporary styles made of plastic and molded paper.
They are often decorated with such details as feathers, sparkles, and beads with the majority of the decoration focused on the eye area of the mask. The masks are usually worn with a tie or elastic that wraps around the head to hold it in place or attached to a stick, which is held by the wearer.
The masquerade mask is sometimes accompanied with a matching hat of some kind, but not always. The rest of the clothing worn is formal as a suit for men and a gown for women.
Typically these kinds of masks are worn at elaborate social celebrations, fundraising balls or functions where the only thing concealing one’s identity is the mask covering just the eyes.
The type of event you plan to wear the mask will dictate what kind of mask would be the best choice to wear. If you plan to collect masks, which are a common practice, again, personal choice will have a lot to do with your selection. You could select a theme and start a collection that way and there are a lot of locations online where you can start purchasing masks for your collection. There are even masks over two-hundred years old available for purchase, and if you do start a collection online it is important to stress that it is well packaged as masks are generally frail items requiring special attention to ensure they arrive at their destination in good condition.