There must be umpteen variations on the theme of Comedy - Tragedy faces. Most of them are pretty ordinary. Not this pair. They're taking the symbols of the theater to a new level of emotion.
Made of white enameled porcelain with gold hair and face accents, these masks really emote. The happy comedy face is laughing with mouth wide open. The crying tragedy face is doing the 'ugly' cry. Together, they span the extremes of emotion and are linked with a removable gold-tone chain. The pins can be worn individually.
The pins measure 1 5/8 by 1 7/8 inches. Each of the pins has a secure rollover clasp that's been glued on. The adhesive has yellowed with age but the backs are firmly fastened. The pins are circa 1950s...in very good vintage condition.
Short History on theater masks...They're the universal symbol of theater or acting. Known as the 'Comedy and Tragedy Masks' or just 'the theater masks', these symbols were taken from Greek Mythology and represent Melpomene (Tragedy Mask) and Thalia (Comedy Mask). Thalia was the muse of comedy and pastoral poetry; Melpomene was the muse of tragedy. Actors in the Greek theater wore the masks to distinguish the different emotions of the characters. Their exaggerated look was so that people who were sitting in the bleachers were still able to see the character's emotions. The mouths of the masks were enlarged and designed to make it easier for the actor to talk and for their voices to project to the back of the arena. Actors were able to play more than one character because of the masks. When they played other characters, all they had to do was change masks.
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