A carnival in the mountains


‘The Alpine carnival is of fundamental importance in the ancient traditions of the people. Various pointers show it to have originated as a sign of good omen. The time waiting for the passing of an apparently dead season and the changing position of the stars that recalls the coming of a new cycle of things, created in the men of the mountains an urgent desire to take part in this renewal. Such desire was expressed in a series of rites devoted to the Supernalural which was invoked in order that the light and warmth might soon return along with the energy of nature that carries with it prosperity and health. The masks are the voice of an imploring humanity. The large number of characters that make up the carnival procession each represent the many aspects of the universal forces. Masks of Good, beautiful and exquisitely made and masks of Evil, sym-bols of ugliness, poverty and the more negative aspects of human nature all march along together. The masks of Good are all decorated with life symbols: small bells which ring as the characters run and jump; ribbons and bows that fly in the air; gold and precious ornaments, jeweled branches and flowers. The masks of evil carry the signs of departure, of farewells, of the past and the uselessness of things. So strong is the regenerating invocation as to seem almost an exorcism against death it self. For this sacred reason, the masked processions in the mountains maintain intact, together with the inflexibility of the rite, their at-mosphere of mystery, just as they did at the dawn of civilization. They make us think about how founded our basic needs – both material and spiritual – really are in relation to our own personal existential prospects. The “Centro Studi e Documentazione dei Carnevali di Montagna” which organised the exhibition, was founded in Belluno as part of the ‘Amici del Borgo” cultural association. Leaving aside for a moment the folkloristic aspects of the carnival, the aim of the centre was to make the deeper human and cultural implications of the event known to a wider public.’


20 Agosto 1988 - 27 Agosto 1988


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions