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Medieval Christmas Traditions:  Actors wearing full facial masks as part of a mumming (play).  This is from a manuscript created in 1344 for the court of Edward III.  I just realised there's a monk stood behind them all looking quite threatening!  Larger picture at source.

Medieval Christmas Traditions: Actors wearing full facial masks as part of a mumming (play). This is from a manuscript created in 1344 for the court of Edward III. Larger picture at source.

mummers - Bodleian Library MS. Bodl 264. fol 21v -

Mummers plays have their origins in pagan winter solstice rituals depicting death and rebirth. Bands of villagers would perform their Mummers plays in return for food or money, Mummers plays had loose.

Royal 14 E III Title Estoire del Saint Graal, La Queste del Saint Graal, Morte Artu Origin France, N. (Saint-Omer or Tournai?) Date 1st quarter of the 14th century Language French Folio 118

Royal 14 E III Title Estoire del Saint Graal, La Queste del Saint Graal, Morte Artu Origin France, N. (Saint-Omer or Tournai?) Date quarter of the century Language French Folio 118

medieval manuscript showing Mummers with their musician - a Bodleian manuscript

medieval manuscript showing Mummers with their musician - a Bodleian manuscript

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