Image: Death masks collection

Death masks collection

Death masks from the Australian Museum's collections.

Australian Museum Archives
© Australian Museum


Death masks show the subject's facial expression immediately after death. It was important to make death masks quickly, before the features became distorted. Death masks were used for a number of reasons - as a tool for sculpture or effigy making, or as objects of veneration.

This image, taken around 1860, shows The Australian Museum's collection of death masks. The collection included the mask of 'Bold' Jack Donohue, better known as 'The Wild Colonial Boy. In 1897, the masks were given to the Anatomy Museum at Sydney University, but have since disappeared.

Last Updated:

Tags Death Online, death masks, what is death, face of death, Australian Museum collections,