I’ve written before of the theatrical traditions of the common styles of Venetian carnival mask, but seeing this one hanging in a window took me back to English tradition.  The transformation of Nick Bottom by the capricious Puck to a man with the head of an ass was one of my first encounters with Shakespearean drama, but I never questioned why this particular beast was chosen.  A comment on Bottom’s intellect?  Or a play on words between bottom and ass?  One source I’ve read suggests the reason was more likely one of practicality; the theory being that any dramatic company worth their salt would have had a fake head worn by riders of hobby horses, the steed being a ubiquitous feature of life in the 16th Century.  It makes sense.

All the same, I’m not sure this would have been my first choice for the ball.

Venezia-5-2

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s