EVIL Terracotta Mask. Decorative wall panel, handmade in Italy with clay from Impruneta.
“You can make something foolproof but not bad luck.”
Arthur Bloch, Murphy’s Law. II, 1980
Eccentric and eclectic terracotta mask with horns, EVIL is an original and unique object that will match a variety of modern and contemporary settings.
APOTROPAIC MASKS: THE MONSTROUS FACES THAT WATCH OVER HOUSES
The custom of decorating home entrances with masks and symbols has its roots in ancient times and is linked to an ancient instinct for protection from evil entities and the evil eye. Ancient traditions and superstitions meet in iconic objects that have survived through the centuries to the present day.
Made of pottery, stone or terracotta, so-called apotropaic masks, from the ancient Greek word “apotropao” or ossi “to ward off,” very often have monstrous appearances, through which they seek to exorcise fear of misfortune and death. They were posted on doorposts, balconies, windows or inside the house to protect the dwelling and probably owe their origin to ancient rituals with somewhat sinister suggestions such as that, of Roman origin, of nailing birds, preferably nocturnal, on doorposts.
This is how Apuleius describes them in the “Metamorphoses”: “they take them and nail them to the gates so that by their heinous death they may do penance for the misfortunes that their inauspicious flight brings to their families.”
Even today, especially in southern Italy, the custom of displaying apotropaic masks is so deeply rooted that in some areas, for example in Calabria, local handicrafts have made it a distinctive point of excellence.
The iconography of these masks is remarkably varied, but very often recalls more or less frightening anthropomorphic figures derived from Magna-Greek symbolism and mythology. Over time, their appearance has undergone some evolution such as, for example, the increasing presence of horns reminiscent of the devil and demonic figures.
La Terracottaconsists of a clay mixture that is fired at a temperature of 980-990° C. The typical reddish color is due to the conspicuous presence of iron substances.
Resistant to frost, heat, thermal changes and brackish, over time it becomes almost a unique element with the surrounding natural environment. In fact, it is not uncommon for lichens and mosses to settle on the surface, creating different textures and patterns, which will make each object a unique and unrepeatable piece.
These characteristics make terracotta ideal for outdoor decoration and furnishings.Its unmistakable touch, traditionally associated with a rustic, retro taste, is making a comeback in innovative and design-oriented designs. Prestigious names in contemporary architecture and art are rediscovering the value, even symbolic, of an ancient material that brings together water and earth, sustainability and the desire for innovation. Thanks to the rediscovery of all natural materials, which respect the environment and enhance it, modern design revisits traditional elements and gives new life to terracotta, in the architectural, landscape and artistic fields.