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The types of masks in Ancient Greece and Rome

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Par   •  22 Février 2023  •  Résumé  •  435 Mots (2 Pages)  •  487 Vues

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The types of masks in Ancient Greece and Rome

        In theatre, there is 4 types of masks : those of the tragedy, those of the comedy, those of the satyric drama and those of the dancers. There are too 4 varieties of the masks : the masks of the fathers, the masks of the young men, the masks of the slaves and the servants and the masks of the women. They are all different, facial features, hair, skin tone and more change depending on the character who wearing the mask. At the second century, Julius Pollux make a list of masks who’s matching with seventy six characters. Thanks to this codification, the public can recognized the characters. The color of the masks help too the identification of the characters, red for the satyric, white for the women…

        The origin of the greek mask is not really exact. It’s probably Thespis, one of the first greek tragedian, who, smearing his face with dregs of wine would have given birth to the mask. Other people think it’s his student Phrynichos who had paint his face in white then to the texture of purslane. The masks were product in different perishable materials : wood, wax or leather. They are widely pierced at the eye and mouth level to allow the actors to speak and be confortable. Originally, the masks covered the face only, but, they started to be enlarged to put wigs. The masks was like a little cap covering only the top of the head and it become insupportable for the actors because it was too hot below. The masks originals have disappeared, today, there is only left small reproductions in terra-cotta. The masks here had never be wear by actors, they could be used as decorating objects or deposited in sanctuaries or graves.

        It’s almost the same for roman masks except they were made with rags and plaster. The details on the mask were very important, the wigs were made with real hair (red for the slaves, blond for the wealthy son, white for the old free man).

        To put in relation with our work, in the movie the masks are here just to add mystery in the story whereas before it was a quick and easy way to recognize the characters. Moreover, they absolutely do not look like the old masks, those of now they are more worked, and especially they are not heavy to carry.


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