This plague doctor mask is from Venice, Italy by way of France. It is comprised of papier-mâché and has a black ribbon to secure it when it's worn.
The mask measures 15.5" from the tip of the beak/nose to the top of the head. The interior measures 9.25" x 6" (at its widest.) This is an older mask, but I do not have an exact age.
Please note there is wear and discoloration to the mask, particularly on the visage and paint splotches in the interior. There is some, however minimal, paint loss. Do examine the photos carefully and please let me know if you would like more as I'll be happy to oblige.
The history of the plague doctor mask dates back to the 1500s when physicians began wearing such masks (early precursors to the modern day gas mask) to prevent contamination. Because biological pathogens weren't yet identified in this era, the physicians thought they were protecting themselves against evil spirits.
The nose is long to hold herbs that they thought would prevent contamination, and the herbs also helped with odors associated with illness. The eye holes had glass inserts. The physician carried a wand to keep at a distance from the ill while he tended to them and wore a waxed robe to prevent further contamination.
This is one of the most ominous looking of the Carnavale masks and one of the most popular.
This can be worn but is not terribly comfortable, one can imagine. It would be most suitable for display.
Thank you for looking.
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