Although we already have a text about VENETIAN MASKS  I wanted to dabble more into the topic. After reading about all the different masks that are out there, one in particularly sparked my interest. The MORETTA – the great Venetian mask of seduction.

The word “moretta” derives from “moro”, which translates to dark and the mask was inspired by the French Vizzards (Visors) which were masks used against sunburns. Popular and common in the 17th century.

The mask featured only the eyes, was round shaped and accentuated the soft feminine lines of the wearers face while the rest of it stayed concealed. The Moretta covered the face from the forehead down to the bottom lip, which kept the identity perfectly hidden and was made out of black velvet which created beautiful contrast to the paleness of the skin.

One of its most significant features is that it is actually strapless. It’s held to the face without the help of laces nor hands, but by biting a button on the inner side. Thieving the wearer of their voice. Therefor also called the Servetta Muta, “mute maid”. Despite the lack in voice and features, the Moretta was used as the perfect weapon of seduction.

This had me guessing, what exactly can be so attractive about a silent black mask?

The wearer of the mask used body language. Thoughts were communicated with tilts of the head, fluttering of lashes and graceful gestures. Such can be interpreted as flirtation. The mask was an excellent excuse to remain silent, if someone was not considered interesting or perhaps even bothering during a conversation. The mysterious aura and the silence is what was so very alluring about the wearer of the mask. Not knowing what the woman thinks or what they look and sound like underneath the mask is what provoked curiosity in some men. 

It was considered a privilege if the woman would remove her Moretta for just a mere second to use her voice. A man could be seen as fortunate and brave to have been able to admire her face. Since it takes a lot of confidence to try to seduce someone without knowing who’s underneath.

Not every mask has to be brightly colored, oddly formed and decorated with hundreds of feathers to leave one speechless.

written by J. Litman