Edward Sandmeier
"Advancing the Art of Mortuary Science"

Memorial Casts & Death Masks:

​The Process

Death masks have served many  roles over the centuries.  

 In Ancient Egypt,mummification preserved bodies while   making them nearly unrecognizable.  Ornate masks were created     in the likeness of the deceased so the soul may recognize the body   it was to inhabit upon its return.

 In the Middle Ages,funeral effigies were a  representation of the deceased and used in place of viewing the  actual body.  Embalming for restorative purposes was still  centuries away.  Mourners would gaze upon a wax sculpture of  the head and face, mounted on a wooden frame, dressed in the  clothes of the deceased.

 In the 1840's,photography was in its infancy and having a  picture made was a laborious process, expensive and, for many,  unattainable.  For many, the first and only picture of taken of them  was in death, giving rise to memorial photography and all but  phasing out death masks, sculptures and painted portraits as a  means of remembering someone.  Death masks and other casted  body parts were still made to aid in forensic investigations  and create anatomical models for training purposes.

 Today,this is an art seldom practiced.  Fortunately, there are  morticians that have dedicated themselves to recalling the lost arts  of their craft and are able to produce enduring and astonishingly  accurate molds upon request.

 A valuable enhancement to this process is that of casting the hands  and feet of children who have passed on giving the parents a three  dimensional memory of their child.