The »Moorish girl«; a peculiar and nowadays seldom seen Venetian mask, used only by women, and mainly during Carnival. It is a black, round mask, ideally a perfect circle, which covers somewhat less than the whole face and makes a very striking and characteristic impression. Rather than being fixed on with ribbons, as is normally the case, the Moretta, also called for this reason a Moretta muta, has a knob or button on the inside around which the wearer bites down, holding it in place that way. This coïncidentally prevents the wearer from speaking; any number of jokes could be made and unquestionably have all been made about this. The reader may exercise himself in attempting to come up with a new one or rehearsing the standards as he pleases. What is certain is that the mask increases the anonymity of the wearer, since the voice is also removed as an identifying trait; it seems to have been remarkably popular during the late 17th and the 18th centuries, perhaps for that reason. Subsequently it seems to have fallen out of use almost entirely; Ca'Macana, for instance, apparently doesn't even make any.

Should the reader be curious to see one, Pietro Longhi's Exhibition of a Rhinoceros is, most likely by far, the most famous painting to feature a Moretta.


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