Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Deep One Death Mask

Joe Broers brings us this Roman-era death mask from a Deep One hybrid.  It's cool how many historically inspired Mythos items we've been seeing over the last few months.

On a related note, a weekend spent gorging on the "Vikings" television series was one of the reasons I started fiddling around with the Viking Mythos Project.  This past weekend I started doing the same for the first season of HBO's "Rome" on Amazon Prime.  One of the pivotal episodes features a wall of illuminated death masks that I thought was impressively spooky.  Two days later, this shows up.  Synchronicity!

1 comment:

CoastConFan said...

I’m glad you bring it up, Propnomicon. Roman wax masks (imagines maiorum) are a nearly forgotten detail about the cult of ancestors and veneration practiced by the Roman aristocracy. I understand they were life effigies, not death masks and being made of wax, none survive outside of descriptions. I also suspect that many were highly idealized and in the case of early ancestors, fabrications. Because the Romans had a thing about linking their lineage to important historical figures and even gods, I rather expect a certain amount of liberty taken with the masks as well. To my knowledge about the only wax available would have been bees wax.

See also this review and overview of Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture by H. I. Flower, 1996

and The Dead on Parade: The role of Ancestors’ images in the Roman Funeral, Chiara Strazzula http://www.academia.edu/7260752/The_dead_on_parade_the_role_of_ancestors_imagines_in_the_Roman_funeral

also: http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/cursushonorum/g/100610-Ius-Imaginis.htm

also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_funerals_and_burial

For your practical type and prop makers interested in making your own Roman ancestor mask: http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2014/02/grad-students-create-lifelike-roman-funeral-masks

As an interesting aside on the subject of funeral effigies, Ptolemaic Egypt and later under the Romans, life images were painted on boards, which were then used on their mummies. They are quite lifelike and worked in a process called encaustic. This strikes me as a fusion between ancient Egyptian and the use of ancestor portraits by Romans via the encaustic painting technique of the Greeks. For more information, Google “Fayum” especially in image search mode for some spectacular ancient portraiture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fayum_mummy_portraits