Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

The Carnival CINGANA mask: or is it a rip-off?

The Cingana mask depicts here one of the Gipsies who were seen going around in Venice, offering - for a small fee - to "read your hand" or "predict your future".

It was common all around Europe in those times, and it still is.

This masked man makes fun of it, but very likely it may not be for teasing only ... it may have been done for scrounging money out of simpleton non-married girls.


Two interesting cultural elements to be noted here:

  • the lady has a horned hairdo (not uncommon at the time) ... and the meaning could have been that "she is willing to fall into sin"
  • a prude reader (my guess) decided to castigate the "lady's too explicit features ..."

Etching by Pietro Bertelli: Cingana (Gipsy Fortune Teller) - 
from: Diversarum Nationum Habitus (Clothing of Different Countries) - etching (1589-1592)
Pietro Bertelli: "Cingana" (Gipsy Fortune Teller)
"Diversarum Nationum Habitus ..." (Clothing of Different Countries ...)
etching (1589-1592)

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