Masks have been popular since the dawn of theatre and have been used in different ways and reasons. In many cultures from around the world and big stages, it has been an important tool for theatre, opera, and during carnivals and celebrations. Masks enable actors to make their performances effective, attractive, and striking.
In some old cultures, masks are used for rituals like connecting with the spirits of ancestors or totem animals accompanied by unique tribal dance. The earliest masks were used for various religious ceremonies such as recreations of folk stories, pageants, festivals, and rites of passage
There are different types of masks like ritual masks, protective masks, and entertainment masks like Commedia Masks. These are used for Commedia dell’Arte, or formerly known as Italian Comedy where each mask has a specific character based on how it looks.
Here are more types of masks that are divided depending on the reasons they are used.
1.) Protective Masks
These are masks that are built for heavy-duty use and can protect faces from all kinds of danger. Some masks form a sealed cover over the nose and mouth to protect the wearer from inhaling airborne pollutants and toxic gases. These protective masks are called gas masks. In the medical field, there is something that we call medicine oxygen masks, which are used to deliver oxygen to patients. Also, surgical masks are used to prevent the exchange of infections between doctors, nurses, and patients.
2.) Disguise Masks
In the old days in Venice, the rich and the poor lived apart from each other. Some poor people avoided bad treatment by disguising themselves as rich citizens by wearing fancy masks. From the word itself, these masks covered the wearer’s face so he would not be recognized and appear as somebody else. It was meant to confuse people and make it hard for others to identify a person.
3.) Ritual Masks
These masks are the oldest type in the world. It is worn in various ceremonies, mostly in secret societies with their religious beliefs, accompanied by a magical or tribal dance. In some parts of the world, it is used in initiation rituals for manhood and other similar practices. These masks are mostly made out of carved wood and decorated by traditional tribal art.
4.) Entertainment Masks
These types of masks are usually reserved for theatrical purposes, used almost universally to represent characters in theatrical performances. Playing the role of a character hid the actor’s true identity.
It was first used in Ancient Greece and was made of leather or wood. They put a brass megaphone near the mouth part so the voice of the actor would be amplified for the people in the audience to hear. Today, masks used in these productions have become elaborated headpieces made of leather or painted canvas and with modern type of materials.
Today, masks have been made more natural, realistic, and modernized. You can even have it customized. Here’s a link where you can get your Commedia masks made with high-quality materials by professionals.