Layer by layer: the manufacture of Graeco-Roman funerary masks
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Ptolemaic cartonnage masks were produced by layering textiles – or reused papyrus sheets – with plaster and glue. Despite the use of the same basic components, the process of manufacture could vary depending on shape, size, time and place. This article aims to clarify the production methods and the different phases of manufacture of these masks, using different imagery techniques, such as X-ray, CT and surface scanning. To provide a better understanding of their production, we examined these masks layer by layer, considering the use of a mould to shape the face from inside, the layering of textile, the application of gesso to strengthen the mask or to sculpt features, and finally the decorative layer of paints and gilding.