Marble Theatrical Mask

Hellenistic

replica: from the Greek Ministry of Culture, Athens

gift of: Dept. of Classics, University of Saskatchewan

date of the original: 1st century BC

provenance of the original: near the Stoa of Attalus in the Athenian Agora; now in the National Archaeology Museum, Athens

description: Theatrical mask with closed eyes/mouth. Plaster replica; marble original. Height 29 cm, width 20.5 cm, depth 16.5 cm.

This mask represents a character from New Comedy. The term “New Comedy” relates to the comedic plays of the fourth and third centuries BC, as opposed to “Old Comedy,” which is associated with plays of the fifth century BC.

The best known New Comedic author was Menander, who wrote plays which depicted humorous aspects of daily life. We know from ancient author Julius Pollox that there were some forty-four types of comedic masks. (See also: Clay Comic MaskTheatrical Mask.)

(See also: Bronze Tragic Theatrical MaskClay Tragic Mask.)