The Bauta is a mask which covers the whole face, with a stubborn chin line, no mouth, and lots of gilding.
The Bauta was introduced in the 16th Century and was worn by the upper classes in Venetian society frequently during the year, but by the masses during the Carnival. Today it is a popular purchase as it can be a free standing decoration as a feature in home decor, or a stunning party mask. The fashion was to wear it with a black tricorno (three pointed Venetian hat), zendale (long hood made of satin and macrame) and long cape.
A feature of the Bauta is that it conceals the identity but enables the wearer to talk and eat or drink easily. It tends to be the main type of mask worn during the Carnival. It was used also on many other occasions as a device for hiding the wearer's identity and social status. It 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.
Because of the shape of the Bauta mask it can stand upright on its own and so can be displayed easily on furniture or any flat surface. It is also popular for something different to wear to a masquerade ball or masked ball. Wearing an Italian masquerade mask to one of these events will attract many admiring comments!