Death masks have traditionally been a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face made shortly after their death. For centuries cultures have used these masks as a way to remember, honor and eerily immortalize notable and famous (or infamous) figures in history.
The death masks can be used by artists as a reference when created a post-humus portrait, used by scientists to and anthropologists to forward the study of humans, or the mask itself can be displayed or turned into a bust.
In more recent decades, before the widespread use of photographic and computer technology, forensic science utilized death masks as a way to help reconstruct the facial features of unidentified bodies.
Many cultures and countries around the world have used death masks to capture the likeness of the deceased, including many European countries, ancient Egyptians, and beyond.
Check out the slideshow above to see the haunting death masks of some of the most famous people in history.