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Death Masks and Life Masks
Mask making is an ancient tradition in most cultures. Death masks are casts taken from a cadaver while life masks are casts taken from a living person. These masks are mostly made from wax or plaster using essentially the same technique. The face and head are oiled or greased, and then thin layers of plaster are applied and built up in layers. To aid in removing the mask, threads are embedded into the plaster so that the threads can be pulled. This cast creates a mold. Wet plaster or wax can then be poured into the mold, creating a positive model.
Death and life masks saw a popular revival in the 19th century. Some of the rise in mask making was due the development of scientific beliefs, such as phrenology, that supposed facial features and proportion could explain personal attributes. Masks were taken from eminent persons, such as monarchs and noted authors. Both the death masks and living impressions would be used as models for future portraits or busts. The practice of making life masks and death masks declined with the advent of photography.
This is the life mask of Ruth Martin. This mask was molded in either 1934 or 1937 (see pic 4).
Ruth Martin lived to 99 years old. Which puts her age in her mid 20s at the time of the molding.
Measures: 8.5" tall x 5.5" wide.
There is a hook on the back for hanging.
There are a few chips in the paint clearly pictured. This mask still displays great.
This item will ship USPS Priority, Insured.