Le figlie di Kassia

Kassia's daughters

The modern Masks were born from Kassia and the Byzantine Women who, through the defeated empire of Byzantium, took over Venice as far back as 1200 when the first disguises began to be seen among the streets of the city.
This new costume was brought to Venice by the elegant women of Constantinople who used to walk around the palaces with their faces covered by a mask, an oriental way of dressing that immediately impressed everyone.

It is ironic that in all this Doge Dandolo, the architect of the great victory over Byzantium or Constantinople, was almost blind at the time:)

Doge Dandolo succeeded, taking advantage of the fourth crusade of 1198, to conquer the entire Adriatic coast, Zara, Ragusa Cataro, and more: 'he negotiated strong territorial expansions for Venice. The Serenissima annexed a good part of Greece, including the Peloponnese, obtained control of Adrianople and the Dardanelles and three-eighths of the city of Constantinople. Venice became the mistress of the Mediterranean thanks to the privateering and dynamic moves of a ninety-seven year old man, who would die triumphantly in Constantinople a year later.'

But naturally every conquest carries within itself an influence, and the culture is permeated with some subtly vengeful return, or rather, with awareness. And this art was revealed in the Masked Women of Conquered Constantinople.

In Venice the 'daughters of Kassia' began to wear the mask within high-class society, among the merchants of course, who in Venice were the most important people, but also in politics, and as magical figures they hid and masked the their oriental origins in a complex charade between distant worlds.

Many Byzantine masks still reproduced today derive from the forgotten period: Nobles of Constantinople, the youngest daughters, a generation deprived of privileges in a very short time and who had only their beauty, elegance and education as a dowry. In Constantinople, caste, sophistication and power had existed for almost a millennium, in Venice, the new center of power, the Byzantine mask became a way to not be recognized in public or take revenge in the dark.

Over time there were cases of poisoning, betrayals and murders but also hidden loves that the masks preserved with an inscrutable barrier.

The mask was no longer light-heartedness, but complete in meaning.

From 1268 a Venetian law tried to put a stop to the custom, it was clearly a form of control, but it is from here that many for the first time speak and 'historicize' the bibliographical origin of the Mask in Venice.
https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen. de/41215/1/Sandra_Welte_ Masked_Venice_Unveiled_25.pdf
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.