"The walls around us were lined with the masks of the Scipiones"

Death Mask (not Roman) of Josef Moroder-Lusenberg
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDeath Mask (not Roman) of Josef Moroder-Lusenberg - Credit: Moroder/Wikimedia Commons
Among the important Roman elite (senators who had held office), death masks were created of the deceased’s face using wax, perhaps moulded on the actual dead man’s face, or perhaps using a bust created in his likeness. These death masks would be handed down through the family and displayed with pride by their descendents. They would often be hung in the atrium or public area of a house so that visiting clients would see a display of a family’s powerful lineage. At funerals, the death masks would be worn by actors to represent and honour the deceased’s long line of important ancestors.