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Plaster mask of Saint Alfonso de Juquara Mato, Europe, 1860-1920

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St Alfonso de Juquara Mato was a Spanish bishop during the 600s. This is said to be a plaster cast of his original death mask. Death masks were created by covering the deceased person’s face with a substance such as plaster. Once hardened, this plaster cast was removed to provide the template to make the mask. Death masks and life masks, made from a living subject, have been made in cultures worldwide throughout history. They were often made to honour important and influential people, and were popular in the 1900s.

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Glossary: saint

No description.

Glossary: death mask

A cast taken of a person's face after death, usually made from plaster or wax.

Glossary: mortality

The number of deaths which occur in a given area or period, from a particular disease, etc.; the average frequency of death; death rate.