XXIII. IV. XXIII
FROM MASQUE, MASCHE TO MASK
By Patrick Moore
This is a part of the 365 Cuddles Project by masks artist Patrick Moore. He extols "I just used acrylic to paint a latex mask every day for a whole year".
The earliest traces of masks that have been discovered go back to 9,000 years, being held by the Musée "Bible et Terre Sainte" (Paris), and the Israel Museum (Jerusalem). Most probably the practice of masking is much older – the earliest known anthropomorphic artwork is circa 30,000–40,000 years old.
The word "mask" appeared in English in the 1530s, from Middle French masque "covering to hide or guard the face", derived in turn from Italian maschera, from Medieval Latin masca "mask, specter, nightmare".This word is of uncertain origin, perhaps from Arabic maskharah / "buffoon", from the verb sakhira "to ridicule".
However, it may also have the origins in Provençal mascarar "to black (the face)" (or the related Catalan mascarar, Old French mascurer). This in turn is of uncertain origin – perhaps from a Germanic source akin to English "mesh", but perhaps from mask- "black", a borrowing from a pre-Indo-European language.
or claims the word "mask" is originally derived from the Spanish más que la cara (literally, "more than the face" or "added face"), which evolved to "máscara", while the Arabic "maskharat" – referring to the buffoonery which is possible only by disguising the face – would be based on these Spanish roots. Other related forms are Hebrew masecha= "mask"; Arabic maskhara or "he ridiculed, he mocked", masakha , that is, "he transfomed".