Ancient Egyptian Death Masks

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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“Despite all their hopes for the afterlife,the ancient egyptians could not escape the natural human fear of death and it’s many unknowns(Wilkinson,2018)To solve this problem the egyptians produced different death masks with different symbolisms tied to them.these masks were worn by all egyptians from the richest pharaohs to the poorest slaves.

Death masks have had many purposes from the beginning of the mummification .one purpose was to enable the mummy to have a face in the afterlife.

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This was important because if your souls did not recognize you you would not go to the afterlife. Another usage of death masks was to protect the body from evil spirits as it was mummified.The death mask helped the soul recognize the body so it was critical to have one in order to move on to the afterlife.

Death masks were worn by almost all the egyptians the most common of them being pharaohs. citizens also wore death masks but the were not as elaborate as the gilded death masks of the pharaohs.there were some people however that did not wear death masks these people were criminals.Criminals did not wear death masks so that their soul would not recognize them, and they would not go to the afterlife. This was the ultimate punishment which meant they would stay on earth for all of eternity.

Death masks were made of many different materials which correspond with their social class. Some death masks were made of gold these were worn by the pharaohs or kings in ancient egypt. These masks worn by the Pharaohs also comprised of obsidian and quartz for the eyes. another popular material was lapis lazuli a blue stone used for the hair. If you were not as rich as a pharaoh in ancient Egypt you could buy a simple papyrus for linen mask dipped in plaster dipped in plaster and then painted to look like gold or bronze.

There were a few specific features that were kept throughout all death masks.One feature on most every death mask was the snake and the vulture depicted on the forehead of the mask. These two symbols represented Upper and Lower Egypt and when they were placed on one mask it represented the two nations united.Another detail was that everyone that wore a death mask wanted to be depicted slightly younger symbolizing Eternal youth which they would have in the afterlife. Another thing you needed in the afterlife besides Eternal youth was spells. These spells were written on the back of the Mask. These spells very purpose was to protect the body.

King Tut’s death mask weight over 22 and 1/2 lbs but was it made for him? this is the question that scientists have been asking themselves for almost 100 years.This question has not yet been answered but there are some interesting theories on why and who it was made for. One of these theories is that Tut’s mask was made for his mother, Nefertiti . some things that support this or that the mask was made of gold Which suggests it was made for a woman. Another is that the hieroglyphics on the mask were from an earlier time and that face of the mask and the other parts were made separately from the rest of the mask. All of these discoveries have led scientists to believe that King Tut’s death mask was made for his mom.

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Ancient Egyptian Death masks. (2019, Sep 22). Retrieved from