This 5000-year-old Mask of Warka is believed to be the oldest surviving mask.
seemed now deeply to feel
that in the costume and bearing of the stranger
neither wit nor propriety existed.”
E. A. POE, The Masque of the Red Death
Masks have been used since antiquity for ceremonial, aesthetic, and practical purposes and are worn whenever a person doesn’t want to be recognised… IF there is a person to be recognised indeed… there is alway an UNHEIMLICH aspect in a mask as well…
What is a PERSON? The word derives from the Latin persona (per-sonare = to sound through) meaning “mask” or “character”. Persona was originally called the mask worn by the actors at the Greek theatre. It was used to intensify the voice of the actor and to show the type of his role.
The word MASK came via French masque and either Italian maschera or Spanish máscara. Possible ancestors are Latin (not classical) mascus, masca = “ghost”, and Arabic maskharah = “jester”, “man in masquerade”.
Nowadays people hide virtually behind an AVATAR which is derived from the Sanskrit word avatāra meaning “descent” (avatarati) and usually implies a deliberate descent into lower realms of existence for special purposes. Thus today’s people usually are not wearing masks to amplify the characterization of their person but prefer incarnations into a lower (online) world where nobody should know their true identity… like some voluptuous Greek deities at that time….