Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ca' Macana

A mask-masking house with a great name in Venice, Ca' Macana was the destination of our class's seventh organised visit in the course.  The small operation leverages the history of mask-making and wearing masks in Venice.  There are about four such shops in the city, albeit around nearly any corner one might find venues selling mass-produced masks in a similar style.  I am surprised that Venetians do not dominate the market for selling masks, or that import of such goods would not be restricted via the local government.  I suppose that's the free market.

While some of my classmates painted some prefabricated masks in the spirit of Venice, I moved on to explore, since I have a history of work in theatres and other performance settings that have required my skills in the arts & crafts.  For the duration of my stay in Venice, I only saw a small handful of children and one young adult wearing masks.

Apparently, during the time of Carnivale this is not the case.  Ca' Macana will make thousands of masks to sell for the event, and this hints at the level of demand, given the ubiquity of competition and apparent supply of more cheaply produced masks from offshore.  With tens of millions of annual visitors, it's easy to see how such small enterprises can stay afloat ~ especially when tied to rich lore.  For detail on the history of Venetians wearing masks for hiding their identity and the different kinds of masks commonly seen (the Bauta is my favourite !), I suggest visiting Ca' Macana's own blog:

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