Death Mask


Location: On Display in the Asia Galleries

From: China | Shanxi | Pingding

Curatorial Section: Asian

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Object Number 44-16-1A
Current Location Asia Galleries - On Display
Culture Chinese
Provenience China | Shanxi | Pingding
Period Liao Dynasty
Date Made Liao Dynasty
Section Asian
Materials Silver

The delicate features of this thin silver death mask were beaten into shape from a heavy sheet of metal. Masks like this were placed over the faces of men and women of the Kitan (Qidan) tribes that formed the Liao empire. The masks were attached to gold, silver, or copper wire shrouds that covered the buried bodies of the Kitan and were buried in Inner Mongolia and Liaoning Province from the mid-10th to early 12th century CE. The eyes are partly closed with heavy eyebrows and a long thin nose. There is a small mouth and long ears, each with a pierced hole in the lobe.

Credit Line Purchased from Mathias Komor, 1944

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