Thursday, May 24, 2012


The use of this object, spotted in an interior decorator's window, would not have been confined to Sicily but what is it and who would have worn it?  Your guesses in the comments please and I'll tell you the answer tomorrow.

Update -  Answer:

As the two commenters guessed, it is a Carnival version of a medieval plague doctor's mask.  These masks were filled with aromatics which, along with the design of the mask, were believed to protect the doctors - who were often unqualified or at the very least, inexperienced - from the plague.  

It would be fun if the etymology of the term "quack" for "fraudulent doctor" were linked to the beak-like mask but alas, it comes from a Dutch word meaning "hawker of salve."   In British slang, "quack" is sometimes used for any doctor.


jams o donnell said...

It looks like a stylised replica one of those masks stuffed with herbs etc in the beak that doctors used to wear in the Middle Ages

marymaryquitecontrary said...

I think that doctors wore the mask to keep themselves safe from the plague

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

You are both absolutely right.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

PS: Nice to see you, MaryMary. How are you? x

marymaryquitecontrary said...

I am very well thank you. I do check your blog to make sure all is well with you in Sicily. We are going to Italy on holiday next month with our daughter,son-in-law and our latest beautiful grand-daughter Lucia. They have a house in a little village on the northern edge of Lake Como(five minutes walk from house to the lake). I resist the urge to write a blog again as I found I spent too much time writing, reading and commenting. Best Wishes Marina

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello again, Marina and thank you for your loyalty. Hope you have a great time in Italy. x


View My Stats