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Venetian Carnival Mask - Maschera di Carnevale - Venice Italy - Creative Commons by gnuckx

Venetian masks are a centuries-old tradition of Venice. The masks are typically worn during the Carnival of Venice, but have been used on many other occasions in the past, usually as a device for hiding the wearer's identity and social status. The mask would permit the wearer to act more freely in cases where he or she wanted to interact with other members of the society outside the bounds of identity and everyday convention. It was thus useful for a variety of purposes, some of them illicit or criminal, others just personal, such as romantic encounters.

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Taken on May 30, 2010