The tradition of wearing masquerade masks during the Venetian Carnival begin in 1268. People were allowed to wear mask from St. Stephen's Day (Dec 26) to midnight of Shrove Tuesday (Mar 4). After the Austrians took control of Venice in 1798, the wearing of masks discontinued until the 1930's. Masks be commonly used to hide identity or status, so as to be able to carry on with the wrong crowd, such as pirates. The original were made of leather just like these be, unlike most masks on the market that be made of plastic or resin. A perfect accoutrement fer pirates attending masquerade parties or Mardi Gras parades.