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The classic and likely most iconic Venetian mask, as worn during Carnival but also on other occasions when the wearer wanted to be anonymous; it was regulated by law and reserved for men, although depictions of women wearing it exist. It was illegal to carry any kind of arms while wearing it; a prohibition no doubt frequently flaunted. The etymology of the word bauta is entirely unknown, as is whether it is meant to depict anything more specific than a man's face. (We may be sure, however, that it is not meant to be a ghost, q.v. larva.)

Like all masks, the bauta is made from papier-mâché or leather; the former is by far the more common in the present day. In its classical form it is white, of a sinister cast, with a marked brow, large nose and large, pointed upper lip; this is often mistaken for a chin, because the most popular form of the mask now extends down the entire face. However, it is unquestionable that it is really a lip; the older form of the mask ends just below the mouth, and its construction is meant to allow the wearer to eat and drink unhindered. The traditional accompaniment of the bauta is a black or gray cloak and a black tricorn hat, and it can be seen in numerous images with these accessories (Canaletto's A Regatta on the Grand Canal is an excellent example, displaying a myriad of men (and at least one woman) wearing the costume).


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