Harlequin in Mardi Gras

•January 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

What is Mardi Gras?


The terms “Mardi Gras” (mär`dē grä) and “Mardi Gras season“, in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. From theFrench term “Mardi Gras” (literally “Fat Tuesday”), the term has come to mean the whole period of activity related to those events, beyond just the single day, often called Mardi Gras Day or Fat Tuesday. The season can be designated by the year, as in “Mardi Gras 2008”.


The time period varies from city to city, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras as the Carnival period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period as being Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year’s Eve, formerly with parades on New Year’s Day, followed by parades and balls in January & February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday.


Other cities most famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, andNew Orleans, Louisiana. Many other places have important Mardi Gras celebrations as well.




Harlequin legacy for the Mardi Gras is not Harlequin as a pattern for the costumes used for the carnival, but rather to the Harlequin’s costumes, especially his famous mask. However, the mask is no longer in the original shape as in the Commedia dell’Arte, but it has been modified and adjusted with today’s culture. 



Harlequin baby

•January 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Harlequin baby is a term used in medical field to call a baby who suffered a skin disease named ichthyosis. The disease also called as Harlequin Ichthysosis because the sufferer’s skin is cracked shaping diamond checkered shape, just like the shape of Harlequin pattern.




Information about the disease, taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin_type_ichthyosis.


Harlequin-type ichthyosis (also harlequin ichthyosisichthyosis congenitaIchthyosis fetalis or keratosis diffusa fetalis), a skin disease, is the most severe form of congenital ichthyosis, characterized by a thickening of the keratin layer in fetal human skin. In sufferers of the disease, the skin contains massive, diamond-shaped scales, and tends to have a reddish color. In addition, the eyes, ears, mouth, and other appendages may be abnormally contracted. The scaly keratin greatly limits the child’s movement. Because the skin is cracked where normal skin would fold, it is easily pregnable by bacteriaand other contaminants, resulting in serious risk of fatal infection.

Sufferers are known as harlequin fetusesharlequin babies, or harlequins.

The harlequin-type designation comes from both the baby’s apparent facial expression and the diamond-shape of the scales (resembling the costume of Arlecchino), which are caused by severe hyperkeratosis. The disease can be diagnosed in the uterus by way of fetal skin biopsy or by morphologic analysis ofamniotic fluid cells obtained by amniocentesis. In addition, doctors can now usually recognize common features of the disease through ultrasound, and follow up with 3D ultrasound to diagnose the condition.

Harley Quinn

•January 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

One of the famous character inspired by Harlequin is Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel) is a fictional character, a supervillainess, in the animated series Batman: The Animated Series, later adapted into DC Comics’ Batman comic books. As suggested by her name (a play on the word “harlequin”), she is clad in the manner of a traditional harlequin jester. The character is a frequent accomplice and would-be-girlfriend of Batman’s nemesis the Joker, and is also a close ally of supervillainess Poison Ivy.




Reference in modern culture and media

•January 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

List of literature and cinema inspired by the character of Harlequin:

  • In the movie Moulin Rouge! there is a harlequin can can dancer.
  • The main character of Neil Gaiman’s “Harlequin Valentine” (based on the ticket seller of Lisa Snellings-Clark’s sculpture Crowded After Hours), invokes the spirit of Harlequin as he pursues his Columbina.
  • Marlow, in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness compares the Russian to a Harlequin, because his clothes resemble the traditional Harlequin costume. (Conrad, Joseph., “Heart of Darkness,” (1902) Dover Thrift, New-York, 1990)
  • Agatha Christie wrote a number of short stories about The Mysterious Mr. Quin, an almost-supernatural figure who helps the elderly Mr. Satterthwaite to solve mysteries. She also featured the character of Harlequin in a sequence of poems entitled A Masque from Italy in her 1925 collection The Road of Dreams (reprinted in 1973 in Poems) and in her first-ever published magazine short story The Affair at the Victory Ball (1923), published in book form in the US in the 1951 collection The Under Dog and Other Stories and in the UK in Poirot’s Early Cases in 1974.
  • Dorothy L. Sayers has Lord Peter Wimsey investigate a murder, while masquerading as a harlequin in the book, Murder Must Advertise.
  • In Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of the residents of Halloween town is the Harlequin Demon, a tentacle-headed monster with a pattern on its skin similar to the original harlequin costume.
  • In Bernard Cornwell’s The Grail Quest trilogy, the leading character, Thomas of Hookton, searches for revenge after the murder of his father, and follows the track of a mysterious man called the Harlequin. He discovers that this man is in fact his cousin, Guy Vexille, who is working with powerful figures within the Catholics to find out the Holy Grail itself. The trilogy ends with the final battle between the two cousins.
  • In the DC Comics Universe, the Joker’s sidekick and on/off girlfriend is Harley Quinn, who wears a clown costume and has a playful, tricky personality.
  • Harlequin is a British spy in Prague in the book The Golem’s Eye, by Jonathan Stroud. He does not exemplify what most people would think a harlequin looks like. Instead, he is a fat old man, who has a predilection for wearing black, and likes dramatic settings; for instance, he has the main character, Nathaniel, meet him in an overflowing graveyard.
  • In John Twelve Hawks’ Fourth Realm Trilogy (including The Traveler and The Dark River), a secret international organization known as the Tabula is intent on total control of human society and its populace through the use and manipulation of vast information networks. In this present-day world, Harlequins are warriors trained in combat and subterfuge sworn to protect Travelers, genetically-gifted individuals with the ability to project their souls to other realms. As these Travelers are perceived as a threat to a perfectly ordered and controlled society, the Tabula is determined to harness or destroy them, with only the Harlequins standing in their way.
  • In Chrono Cross the Character Harle is a Harlequin.
  • “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman is a popular science fiction short story by Harlan Ellison. It illustrates a dystopian future where punctuality is the law, and the main character named Harlequin displays the rebellious and mischievous nature of the harlequin archetype.
  • Harlequin is a powerful elf character in at least two of the “Shadowrun” role play books published by FASA.



  • Progressive metal band Opeth has a song entitled “Harlequin Forest” on their 2005 album Ghost Reveries.
  • Australian based singer, Kylie Minogue was dressed in a Harlequin outfit for the backdrop of her 2005/2006 tour, the Showgirl Tour andShowgirl – The Homecoming Tour. The song playing in the tour was “Burning Up” which led to Madonna’s “Vogue”.
  • Harlequins are mentioned in the song Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off by Panic at the Disco. (“Testosterone boys and harlequin girls, will you dance to this beat and hold a lover close?”)
  • Harlequins are also mentioned in the song Pink Hearts, Yellow Stars (Harlequin Lover) by Chicosci
  • A harlequin is mentioned in the song “Emerald Lies” by British rock band Marillion on their 1984 album Fugazi.
  • Philip Sparke is a composer who wrote “Harlequin” for concert band, a piece which takes its inspiration from the happy and sad faces from the Italian Comedia Dell’Arte. It is a work in two movements; a slow ballad followed by a frenetic faster movement. The piece was dedicated to and had a solo for David Childs. David and Steven Mead are both euphonium virtuoso willingly head by a broad audience.
  • The British rock band Genesis had a song called Harlequin on their 1972 album Nursery Cryme
  • American song writer/musician/artist Robert Pollard of Guided By Voices had a song called “Faking My Harlequin” on his 2009 solo album “The Crawling Distance”
  • In the opera Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavalla, the character of Beppe plays the Harlequin role in the opera’s ‘play within a play.’
  • Harlequin appears in Richard Strauss’ opera Ariadne Auf Naxos (another case of a ‘play within a play,’ or in this case an ‘opera within an opera’).
  • Used in the first line of the Stephen Stills composition “Helplessly Hoping”, recorded by the rock musical group Crosby, Stills and Nash.
  • Harlequin is also a Canadian rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Harlequin is also a Portland Oregon based Hip-Hop artist.
  • Folktonica Singer, Goldfrapp wears a Harlequin outfit on the cover art of her single, Happiness.
  • Barry Manilow Dresses As A Harlequin In His Video Of Read’Em And Weep



  • Harlequin FC are a British rugby union team who currently play in the Guinness Premiership In England. They wear the shirts of the traditional Harlequin character.
  • There is a Rugby league side Harlequins RL who recently changed their name from the London Broncos.
  • In the tabletop strategy game Warhammer 40,000, the Harlequins are an enigmatic group of the Eldar that are traveling dancers, musicians and actors who use misdirection and confusion when they fight. Their colorful clothing is a stylized version of the original harlequin costume.
  • In the radio drama, “Adventures in Odyssey”, the local dinner theatre is named The Harliquin Dinner Theatre.
  • In the Pablo Picasso collage painting “The Three Musicians” a harlequin is seen in the middle
  • Harla Quinn is a known drag queen/female impersonator in the Baltimore, Maryland metro area. The name inspired by Panic at the Disco’s “Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off.”
  • Harlequin was a character in an Irish campaign for genital herpes awareness week [1].
  • Harlequin is a color pattern seen in domestic cats: white with islands of single or complex color.
  • The Blizzard computer games Diablo and Diablo II each have unique items called the “Harlequin Crest”.


Information taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlequin

Harlequin pattern (diamond-shaped pattern)

•January 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Originally, Harlequin pattern is came from the patches on Arlecchino’s costume (patches symbolized his status as a servant). The patches later on became a pattern called as Motley. Motley refers to the traditional costume of the court jester or the harlequin character in commedia dell’arte. The diamond-shaped pattern was used for traditional Harlequinade costume in the colors palette of blue, green, and red diamonds.  



Today’s the diamond-shaped pattern which are also known as Harlequin pattern is not only used in 3 colors anymore (blue, green, and red diamonds), but it is used in a wide range of various colors. During the Art Deco period, the pattern was famous and being used often for decorative arts as well as the visual arts such as fashion, painting, etc. 




Harlequin as costumes

•January 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

After Commedia dell’Arte, Harlequin’s costumes inspired the theatre world in a way that the Harlequin pattern were used as the costumes for theatrical characters, possibly related to Arlecchino on the similarity between their characteristics or the status as a servant or a clown (as in comic character from Commedia dell’Arte or The Harlequinade).





Harlequin pattern in other media

•January 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Check out these images and look at the different color palettes that give a very different feeling for each object. With different color palletes, the Harlequin pattern is not only looked classic but also can be looked modern, cute, kiddish, etc.








harlequin_cake  judy_ross_harlequin_pillow-735510