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Death Masks

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djgordy
42671.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:51 pm Reply with quote

Since there is a thread on Death, I thought I would start one on death-masks. I regretted it almost instantly.

With the advent of photography they have fallen out of fashion, and of course these days we tend to keep death at arms length. However, cultures as diverse as the Egyptians, Celts and Incas used them to keep a record of their ancestors in the same way that we now have photograph albums.

The most famous death mask is probably that of Tutankhamun, but you can also see masks of people as diverse as Beethove, Robert E. Lee, Oliver Cromwell, Casanova and Shakespeare at these links:


http://libweb.princeton.edu/libraries/firestone/rbsc/aids/C0770/nameslist.html#names

http://thanatos.net/

I ought to warn you though that these are quite unsettling and I don't want to look at them again thankyou very much.

 
grizzly
42674.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 5:58 pm Reply with quote

How are they made precisely? I'm sure that of Shakespeare must have been altered from a simple cast in order to create the moustache and beard.

 
Psychosis_Safari
42679.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:02 pm Reply with quote

I don't find any of it particularly unsettling...

But some of those Momento Mori on the second link are a bit creepy - but i think thats due to the fact that they have tried to make the people look "alive" in everyday poses..

I don't understand why anyone would want a death mask tho...or a photograph come to that...

 
djgordy
42683.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:19 pm Reply with quote

Oh yes, after having had a lie down due to looking at all the death masks I forgot one of the points of my post.

People looking at Beethoven's life and death masks have put this forward as evidence for the belief that he was black. There are numerous references to this belief, although which position people take is largely dependant on their political beliefs. Here is a good place to start though:

http://www.newint.org/issue228/curious.htm

 
Psychosis_Safari
42684.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:21 pm Reply with quote

Could he not have been of mixed origin?

 
grizzly
42686.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:26 pm Reply with quote

Just looking at the link there djgordy. Is it true about the Rickshaws on that page or is that person mistaken? I seem to remember a question in a QI episode describing the Rickshaw as an American invention. Ican't remember precisely.

 
Mostly Harmless
42688.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:30 pm Reply with quote

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Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Psychosis_Safari
42690.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 6:31 pm Reply with quote

isn't it argued that Jesus may well have been Black?

 
samivel
42718.  Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:45 pm Reply with quote

Mostly harmless wrote:
I've never quite grasped why the Xtian Jesus is portrayed without olive skin and dark hair, given his place of origin.


The fact that he's portrayed full-bearded yet without body hair has always puzzled me

 
Mostly Harmless
42772.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 7:02 am Reply with quote

..


Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
samivel
42936.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:30 pm Reply with quote

That seems to defeat the point that he was fully human, though

 
Celebaelin
42985.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:31 am Reply with quote

The usual depiction of Jesus has been said to be derived from the Statue of Zeus at Olympia although this is proving difficult to source reliably.

Quote:
The so-called "Jesus" that we see in churches and books today is a fourth century concoction that is an image of Zeus (the chief of the pagan gods-- especially in his Sarapis or Egyptian form).


http://askelm.com/secrets/sec005.htm

There was a TV program (about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) which told of a Christian/Islamic ‘contest’ story regarding a mosaic of Jesus in the Hagia Sophia and the statue of Zeus and implied that this was a widespread relationship, certainly in terms of the seated posture the depictions are similar. In terms of a broader connection I’m finding this difficult to nail down but I think the specific example is credible.

The story ran that on the fall of Constantinople to Islam the mosaicists of the city were afflicted with paralysis of the hands when the new authorities pointed out that at the centre of Christian worship was a depiction of Zeus set up for adoration (Islam of course allows no such images). A visiting Saint (‘a’ St. Paul?) addressed the problem by saying to the mosaicists “I forgive you” at which point their withered hands were miraculously cured!

Mosaic of Jesus from the Hagia Sophia (Istanbul)

http://www.focusmm.com/civilization/hagia/hagia_5b.jpg

Quote:
This scene depicts Jesus sitting on a magnificent celestial throne. His right hand is raised in a gesture of blessing, and in His left hand He holds an open book bearing the inscription: "Peace be with you. I am the Light of the World." On either side of Jesus, there are roundels. The one on the left portrays the Virgin Mary, and that on the right portrays the angel Gabriel. Jesus, potrayed here as the Pantocrator (King of the World), is dressed in white hiton and himation, and his features resemble Zeus, the king of gods.


http://www.focusmm.com/civilization/hagia/visiting.htm

The Statue of Zeus at Olympia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Zeus_at_Olympia

http://ce.eng.usf.edu/pharos/wonders/Gallery/zeus_color.jpg

http://www.unmuseum.org/ztemp.htm

http://www.amazeingart.com/seven-wonders/statue-zeus.html

 
eggshaped
42986.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 7:43 am Reply with quote

I remember reading somewhere that slightly perversely, the modern depiction of Jesus may be down to the Turin shroud.

Probably nonsense, but I thought I'd throw it into the melting pot. I'll try to find a source later.

 
Mostly Harmless
43184.  Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:35 am Reply with quote

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Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Sun Jan 08, 2006 3:18 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Frances
43390.  Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:01 pm Reply with quote

Madame Tussaud started out in business by making wax death masks of gullotine victims and other famous people, including MArie Antoinette, Napoleon, Sir Walter Scott, and Burke and Hare.

 

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