Executioner’s mask, Europe, 1501-1700

Made:
1501-1700 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Iron mask with grotesque nose-piece, moulded eye-brows and furrowed brow, worn by executioner, European, 1501-1700

An executioner is said to have worn this mask before delivering the final blow, with either an axe or sword. It cuts a gruesome figure and is deliberately macabre and menacing to further terrify the prisoner. Executioners often wore masks to hide their identity and avoid any retribution. They were often booed and jeered, especially if the person to be executed was a popular or sympathetic figure.

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
A129822
Measurements:
overall (including plinth): 230 mm x 180 mm x 220 mm, 2.14 kg
type:
executioner's mask
credit:
Glendining
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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