Intimidating masks

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A citizen could demonstrate his or her lineage through imagines, death masks of the ancestors.These were wax casts kept in a lararium, the family shrine.The oldest masks that have been discovered are 9,000 years old, being held by the Musée "Bible et Terre Sainte" (Paris), and the Israel Museum (Jerusalem).– but insofar as it involved the use of war-paint, leather, vegetative material, or wooden masks, the masks probably have not been preserved (they are visible only in paleolithic cave drawings, of which dozens have been preserved).This in turn is of uncertain origin — perhaps from a Germanic source akin to English "mesh", but perhaps from mask- "black", a borrowing from a pre-Indo-European language.

In Ancient Rome, the word persona meant 'a mask'; it also referred to an individual who had full Roman citizenship.

Throughout the world, masks are used for their expressive power as a feature of masked performance - both ritually and in various theatre traditions.

The ritual and theatrical definitions of mask usage frequently overlap and merge but still provide a useful basis for categorisation.

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Prior to joining SCMP, he studied journalism at the University of Hong Kong and lived in Taiwan for two years.

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