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This oval mask in black velvet was worn by women of all social classes. Certainly it went better with fair hair that Venetian gold that was so much the pride of not only the courtesans but of all sorts and conditions of Venetian women.

Men too, though, had a liking for this sweet little mask and, for once, nobody complained about the caprices of women's fashion, and this because of a small detail recounted by Boerio. "The moretta stays in place thanks to a small button placed behind the mouth on the mask, and held in the mouth of the wearer".

Silently, then, the women would move through the crowded convent parlours, visiting the disconsolate brides of Christ that were these women forced to take the veil because of the cruelty of custom.

To alleviate their suffering or, at times perhaps, naughtily to arouse envy, more fortunate sisters and relatives would bring in a breath of air from that world denied to the nuns forever.

The moretta also appeared, as can be seen in a painting by Longhi, amongst the Venetian casotti or curiosity shows, which housed the caprices of Mother Nature or the wonders brought to Venice from the "New World". A menagerie of rhinoceroses, elephants, lions and other exotic beasts were paraded before curious eyes along with dwarves, giants and extraordinary automata.

All sacrifices were legitimate for fashion's sake even i f they left you speechless - moving silently among the ladies and their boy-lovers, looking for that certain glance and ready to see in a knowing smile on a woman's face, that the moretta would not be hiding it for much longer.

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