In this blog, we join Willow Class for a two part learning journey to show you how they create these amazingly colourful Mayan Death Masks. Mayas were buried with a death mask, which was intended to protect the wearer on their journey to the afterlife. Death masks were the most sacred and elaborate. The death mask of King Pakal is one of the most famous Maya artefacts.
The funerary mask served to guide the spirit of the deceased back to its final resting place in the body. These masks were commonly made of cloth covered with stucco or plaster, which was then painted. For more important personages, silver and gold were used. In this case, the children are recreating the Death Mask of Mayan King Pakal. His mask was made out of Jade, which is a mineral used as jewellery or for ornaments. It is typically green, although may be yellow or white. Jade can refer to either of two different silicate minerals: nephrite, or jadeite. Jade is well known for its ornamental use in East Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian art.
We took some pictures today of the children preparing their masks. The Jade colours are added in a Mosaic style using crepe, tissue and coloured paper. Green coloured in this case, using PVA glue on a pre-formed white mask as their base or blank canvass.