Why Are Ceramic Mardi Gras Masks Important?


The masks worn by revelers in Mardi Gras parades, especially in New Orleans, are well known throughout the world. However, the masks made of ceramic materials are seldom actually worn, but are purchased to be used as decor for homes, offices, restaurants, stores and galleries.

Variety of Masks

A huge variety of face masks makes up the selection available online and in stores, especially in and around New Orleans. While most are masks of beautiful faces, there are some that are grotesque and frightening.

Some Masks Are Wearable

While some of the masks worn for parades are made from fabrics plus jewels, very fancy paint and feathers, they are considerably more wearable than masks made from glass or ceramic materials. The most wearable masks are similar to inexpensive Halloween masks, covering only the eyes of the wearer and made of disposable materials.

Almost All Are Decorative

Even the most scary mask has decorative potential, and the beautiful masks are exquisite in their display of color combinations, sparkle and texture, so they have become popular decorative items. Those especially favored by decorators and collectors are the ceramic masks, which are permanent reproductions of faces that may be displayed on walls in almost any setting.

Some Represent Real People

Though stylized, many of the popular ceramic masks are themed around skin tones and ethnic characteristics. The glazed African-American faces, Asian faces and Caucasian faces are all equally interesting and beautiful. They lend themselves to decorative use both inside a building and outside in a garden.

Collectors Seek Ceramic Masks

Some mask-makers have specialized in using white-only ceramics, highly glazed and painted in Art Deco and Art Nouveau designs. These are instantly collectible and gain value as they age. Still others perfect hand painting and sculpting to reproduce famous or notorious faces, which command higher and higher prices from dealers and collectors.


  • Mardi Gras Wall Masks
  • Hand-Painted Ceramic Mask
Keywords: Mardi Gras masks, ceramic masks, decorative masks

About this Author

Karen W. Waggoner is a retired teacher and lifetime scribbler. She has published short stories, essays in anthologies and periodicals. Waggoner is the author of the memoir, "On My Honor, A Navy Wife’s Vietnam War." She is a graduate of Stetson University, the University of Connecticut, and Christian College for Women.

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