Wax models cast from the faces of researchers who wanted to recreated Roman ancestor masks.
A Strange Custom
Actors wore these kinds of masks to stand in for dead family members during funeral processions to help piece together entire genealogical lines.
Though researchers who worked on this project were women, the right to an ancestor mask was reserved for men only.
These masks, called imagines maiorum, were made from beeswax, which could be an exotic or expensive material if it came from special, faraway sources.
Keeping Up Appearances
Since beeswax is unstable and quite delicate, the ancestor masks likely would have required continual maintenance.
Megan Gannon, Live Science Contributor
Megan has been writing for Live Science and Space.com since 2012. Her interests range from archaeology to space exploration, and she has a bachelor's degree in English and art history from New York University. Megan spent two years as a reporter on the national desk at NewsCore. She has watched dinosaur auctions, witnessed rocket launches, licked ancient pottery sherds in Cyprus and flown in zero gravity. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.