Iron mask, German, 1601-1700

Made:
1601-1700 in Germany
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

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

Iron mask, said to be worn by victims going to execution in Nuremburg, Germany, 17th century

This grotesque mask is believed to have been worn by prisoners being led to their executions in Nuremburg, Germany, during the 1600s. It was presumably intended to bring further distress and humiliation to a terrified individual.

Masks were also often worn by executioners to hide their identity. There are fewer historical references to prisoners wearing masks. One exception is a French prisoner immortalised in The Man in the Iron Mask by author Alexander Dumas (1802-1870). The prisoner was reputedly held for over 30 years and never allowed to remove his iron mask.

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
A653839
type:
mask
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • costume

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