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death masks

Death Masks at the Center for Jewish History

Death masks, molded from plaster in the first hours after death before the features have stiffened or atrophied, were used for centuries to preserve the appearance of nobility and other eminent persons as models for posthumous sculptures or painted portraits. In the 19th century, these unnervingly accurate impressions came to be prized in their own right, and the practice of creating death masks as…

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