The Masked Fool

The Fool

My first direct expertise of the idiot in masking was watching Morris Dancing right here at dwelling in Yorkshire, England. The Morris dancers had been dressed up of their regular dancing sneakers with bells and dishevelled pants. To be completely sincere I’ve all the time discovered Morris males a bit humorous! Perhaps I ought to clarify about Cecil Sharp, no I'll depart that to a footnote.

The Boars Head Morris Men had been dancing in a pub automotive park. (Pub brief for Public House a spot for ingesting beer and so forth. within the UK.) They had been doing the same old dances which might be associated to fertility, good crops and harvests and so forth. But in fact they actually don't fairly have the pagan beliefs off pat. Mind you once you see them drink ale within the portions that they did then you definately would realise that they’d maybe totally understood the pagan methods of getting an excellent time. (Not to say all individuals who comply with the pagan methods drink a lot of ale, only a handy idea)

What you might be in all probability asking by this juncture is that this to do with fools?

Well the Boars Head Morris Men had a masked idiot. He was full with boars masks pantaloons and boars headed stick. He additionally carried a bucket for accumulating money donations for charity, or perhaps beer cash. He adopted the dancers mimicked them and cajoled the watchers for change to fill his bucket.

Interestingly I knew the idiot fairly nicely and in actual life, with out the masks, he would by no means do what he did with the masks. Being English he was simply far too well mannered!

The Boars Head stick grew to become a threatened cudgel, by no means used, simply pointed and waved. The masks was a spot to cover behind, for a traditional on a regular basis particular person. As you can see by wanting additional on this website the masks permits folks to vary personalities. He bullied and pranced and loved his twin mission to gather cash and to guard the dancers from the group. Sometimes the youngsters get too shut. That just isn’t allowed. Sometimes the dancers area is threatened by vehicles getting into the parking area. Wow! That just isn’t a good suggestion!

But immediately the idiot units off in pursuit of three engaging ladies. He rattles his bucket and rounds them up as a sheep canine would. They are pressed into donating generously. He simply leaves his dancers unprotected to fend for themselves. The subsequent ten minutes is exchanged in good natured banter. (The spouse of the idiot is current!)

The above is from reminiscence, in all probability about 20 years in the past. In phrases of masks traditions that could be very latest. For masks traditions will be traced again not less than 25,000 years. I’m sure they return to the time of the primary questioning peoples; 50,000 …………….. or extra years?

What then is that this reference to fools and masking traditions. Well as you dig by way of this website you can see that the idiot crops up in a number of different traditions.

In Masquerade the idiot is a necessary determine. On the floor he, generally she, is the one who retains order. He controls the youngsters, he stops their prying eyes invading the dressing room. His stick maintains the efficiency space. He cracks jokes, entertains, juggles pulls faces and GETS VIOLENT. He chases the youngsters with a whip and hits them mercilessly if he will get the prospect. He tries to seduce ladies, and does if he can!

Suddenly he turns into bored and goes away to take a seat and speak philosophically with a bunch of pals from his unmasked time. As the dialog progresses he introduces new concepts. He begins to ridicule the accepted norm. He questions the accepted actuality. He makes an attempt to turns arguments on their heads

The Ubiquitous Fool

The idiot is a ubiquitous. The idiot happens within the masking traditions of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, China, …………………… if you already know some extra please fill in my clean.

Universally the idiot treads the road between normality and the incongruities that the world. The idiot is each smart and completely none-sensible. Not that he doesn’t use his senses he simply makes use of then differently. He questions and cajoles. He jokes and makes enjoyable of others. Yet when somebody over steps the arbitrary boundary, (who determined) he modifies. Suddenly he turns into the quiet fireside cat, the sleeping feline, domesticated, modern and silky. And as you stroke and pleasure the cat she begins to develop into claws and tooth and worse growls. He turns into the raging tiger, claws and tooth.

What is the position of the idiot?

The idiot historically questions. S / He challenges the norm. S / He goes past the routine and on a regular basis. S / He crosses the boundary between the bodily and the non secular. The idiot is aware of each side however sadly doesn’t perceive both. The idiot is past judgement however is incapable of judging. The idiot is a go-between, a hinderer, a creator and destroyer. He units issues up solely to interrupt them down.

To be sincere I really like the idiot, as a result of I really feel I’m one, at occasions. The idiot embodies the contradictions of the world. He accepts our human frailties and concurrently challenges them. For these of you who know the symbols on the tarot playing cards take into account the idiot, for these of you who don’t make a while to seek out out.

Some Examples of Fools in Masquerade Italy In Masks the Art of expression Cesare Poppi describes the Carnival at Moena within the Italian Dolomites. Two Arlechign, a neighborhood model of Harlequin, lead the masked group. They are wearing checkered costumes, with a tall pointed cap under which is a free veil giving them a featureless look. They carry horse whips. Around them the group of cheering younger boys follows their strikes. Suddenly the sprint into the youths slashing fiercely with the horse whips, putting vicious blows to the confused children. Panic ensues. A delightful village scene has immediately been turned upon its head.

China In China, or your native China Town, when the New Year is widely known the Lion Dance is carried out. This usually acrobatic masked dance is carried out by, normally two dancers accompanied by two Happy Face dancers carrying their papier mache masks full with massive grins painted on them. As the dance progresses by way of the streets the dragon collects lettuces and cash to assist carry luck in to the New Year. Around the dragon the 2 fools pester the group for cash and concurrently maintain the group, particularly the youngsters, at a protected distance.

Pacific West Coast


During Kwakwaka'wakw Potlatch ceremonies within the West Coast Areas of Canada one other idiot prowled round. He is Noohlmahl. A grimy creature with a protracted nostril from which snot streams he’s up for amusing however ought to the watchers point out his state, particularly his nostril, a violent response will be anticipated.

Iriquois False Face Society

The Iriquois False Face Society even have a idiot masks to help the processes of therapeutic that they undertake. These corn husk masks are comparatively easy and disposable. As with different traditions the idiot performs his amusing and organizing position.

Playfulness has a serious place in lots of masquerades.

In our lives all of us play the idiot, despise the idiot in others and love the idiot who entertains. Sadly the idiot who entertains will also be torn aside by inner psychological divisions.

The masked idiot is the one who maintains order and on the similar time questions it and generally on a whim destroys it. Traditionally the idiot treads a high quality line between the identified and the unknown, the suitable and the unacceptable. Even with out the masks I’m positive you acknowledge the idiot in your life.

The idiot is a common being. Today (12/15/04) I misplaced my idiot, she was our cat. If you want to know she died of outdated age. She had the smooth luxurious of a purring fur to stroke and in a second she remodeled right into a fanged biter. She had the connoisseur style of a French chef but licked her personal ass. She refused to go outdoors when the wind blew, as a result of it was chilly, but sat fortunately on the moist grass when it was raining and blowing a gale. Tango, the cat, was my idiot, simply as I used to be hers when enjoying cover and search. I liked her affection and was saddened by her rejection of the meals I gave her. All in all Tango, our household cat, was all contradiction and superbly herself. She is a really missed little being.


Cecil Sharp collected folks sings within the British Isles. Amongst folks fans he’s one thing of a hero as he preserved could folks songs and traditions. He was instumental in serving to protect the lots of of various Morris dances. Yet as with the track lyrics he collected they had been purged for naughty bits. Anything that went towards his strict Victorian morality was censored. The complete of British folks custom was made "nice".

Inspired by Masks the Art of Expression ed. John Mack ISBN 0-7141-2530-X and different sources that I’ve learn and internalized way back.

© Ian Bracegirdle 2004 1 Elderberry Close East Morton BD20 5WA UK 01535 692207 You could use this text freely given that you embody this copyright line and URL and that individuals who subsequently use this text comply with the identical situations. Thank you for accepting these situations.

Source by Ian Bracegirdle

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