❧Ordonnances | Nouuelles faictes par la court / tant | sur le faict de la pollice / que des poures mendicans. Auecques | celles faictes par le roy no= | stre sire sur la pollice des | bledz / Publiees a | Paris au moys | Doctobre. | [Typographic fleur-de-lis] | ❧Autre ordo[n]nance sur la deffense de | ne porter barbes / Publiee le.vie .ior | de Noue[m]bre Lan mil cinq ce[n]s.xxxv. || ¶Auec la deffense de ne faire / ne | vendre ne aussi porter masques. || Auec priuilege, || ¶On les vend a Paris en la grant sal= | le du Palais au premier pillier / par | Iehan andre. [Colophon, B4v]: Imprime a Paris le seco[n]d iour de de= | cembre Mil cinq cens trentecinq pour Jehan andre. [Paris: Jehan Andre, 2 December 1535]
An entertaining and highly specific summation of Paris ordinances homologated on the 6th of November, 1535, the most compelling of which is the prohibition of the sale and wearing of masks. The masks in question were those used for the jeu de mammon, or mumming game, a kind of folk theater where participants, often fueled by ardent spirits, don masks representing bears, wolves, stags, and sometimes demons and other chthonic figures, then go wild in the streets. The most serious mask crimes were those that reversed gender roles: men wearing masks that made them appear as women, and women as men. Our ordonnance clearly and plainly states that it is illegal to wear or sell such masks, epecially for jeu de mammon, under pain of imprisonment. According to Max Harris, in his Sacred Folly, ordinances against masks were not new, having been passed as early in 1509, and were quite universally ignored. Our book also records ordinances forbidding beards and facial hair, rules regarding the treatment of beggars and other mendicants (and their children), and various laws governing bledz, or one-horse towns outside of Paris. A compelling and readable document, free of legalese, published for a lay readership. Jehan Andre was given permission to print the ordonnances by Nicole Malon, greffier ciminel, on 8 Novmbere, 1535. According to a statement preceding the colophon, the book was published 27 November of that year, and printed 2 December, confirming that there existed a clear distinction between printing and publishing in the Paris book market. One copy recorded at auction, the Jourdan-Laforte copy, sold at Guillaumot-Richard, 11 April, 2015, lot 11 (hammer 3100 Euro). Two copies recorded in institutional libraries (BL and Bib. Hist. de Paris).
Paris: Jehan Andre, 1535.
Octavo, 154 x 99 x 2 mm; A-B4= 8 ff. Later wraps of old blue paper, unlettered. Pale dampstain to text block, closed marginal tear to B3, no loss. A crisp, unwashed copy, probably disbound from a Sammelband at an early date.
Pettegree 41272 (finding only the BL copy); Renouard (ICP) I 90.
Lauvergnat-Gagnière, C. "Le faict des masques." Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, Vol. 30, No. 3 Paris: Droz, 1968, pp. 471-482.
Harris, Max. Sacred Folly: A New History of the Feast of Fools. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2011. p. 255