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African Glass Masks


Handmade Murano glass and Murrine mask.


Murano glass masks and Murrine are handmade design sculptures. They represent the distant meeting of two cultures, apparently distant in the present but incredibly close in the past: Venice and Africa.


Each piece is unique and unrepeatable, the result of the combination of traditional Murano glassmaking techniques, such as Murrine, and the ethnic flavour of contemporary design.


An artwork certified by registered trademark Vetro Artistico® Murano, testimony to Venetian craftsmanship handed down through three generations.









In the 15th century, the trade routes of the Serenissima Republic changed radically, making contact with New Guinea Africa. Venice, at the time renowned for exporting Venetian Pearls to the East, encountered the culture and traditions of Mesopotamia, according to which artefacts such as glass beads served the function of protective amulets for the person.

To suit the tastes and cultures of different ethnic groups, Venetian glass masters created more than a hundred thousand patterns and colours of Venetian Pearls for Africa. The contaminations caused by this cultural exchange are still present in the colours, decorations and patterns of many traditional Venetian glass artworks, hence the idea of creating a collection that would keep the atavistic memory alive.



The art of mask-making in Africa and that of the glass masters in Murano have many similarities: they are handed down from father to son, together with the knowledge of the associated symbolic values, and are such an integral part of the cultural heritage of the place that they have become an icon. The decision to create a collection of glass masks stems from this similarity and therefore recreates African-style decorative masks with the colours and patterns that have characterised their history.

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