web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Oldest Known Masks in the World on Display in Israel

Happy Purim? One of 11 of the oldest masks in the world on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Happy Purim? One of 11 of the oldest masks in the world on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Israel Museum

A new display in Jerusalem is showcasing the oldest-known masks in the world, believed to have originated 9,000 years ago, long before Purim.

The 11 masks are made of stones and were discovered in the Judean desert near Jerusalem. Experts believe the masks were meant to look like skulls, with each displaying a unique personality via emotional expressions of shock or grinning.

“When you go back to objects that are this old, that are so much before the theology that becomes Judaism, Christianity and then Islam, to feel that there is a kind of a connection, that this is all part of a continuous story, is something that is pretty thrilling,” said Israel Museum director James Snyder, the Associated Press reported.

The custom of mask making and wearing dates back at least 25,000 years although no masks that old have been found, according to exhibit curator Debby Hershman, with the earliest masks most likely made of animal materials. Later, stone masks originated at the time when humans living in the Fertile Crescent adopted agriculture.

“It’s the most important revolution that ever happened,” Hershman said. The people who fashioned the masks, she said, “are actually the founders of civilization.”

About the Author: www.JNS.org is an independent, non-profit business resource and wire service covering Jewish news and Israel news for Jewish media throughout the English-speaking world.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “Oldest Known Masks in the World on Display in Israel”

  1. Cheri Fistel says:

    There are holes around the sides of the mask that would mean that the mask was fastened on. Does the mouth allow for breathing, or the nose? I am afraid to say more.

  2. Maynard Miller says:

    That mask looks a lot like John Kerry.

  3. It looks heavy and uncomfortable, doesn't it? Of all the building materials they had, why would they use stone unless it was for a very special occasion/ceremony/ritual? Wouldn't it be nice to look back in time to see exactly what was going on in those moments? Hopefully, they'll uncover extra artifacts to shed light on their purpose.

    It reminds me of the death mask from the original Twilight Zone.

  4. Cheri Fistel says:

    I believe it was not for a celebritory for the wearer.

  5. Cheri Fistel, yeah, it doesn't look like it. And even though it has a smile, when you look at the sunken eyes, the smile suddenly looks more like a grimace of pain or a smile tempered by sadness.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall ahead of his speech next week at the US Congress.
Netanyahu Visits Western Wall before Leaving for US
Latest News Stories
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall ahead of his speech next week at the US Congress.

“I Respect the President Barak Obama.” That’s what he said. We don’t know what meant.

Three car collision near Beit Shemesh motzie Shabbat, Feb. 28, 2015.

Three car accident near Beit Shemesh on Saturday evening. At least 10 injured.

Nemtsov and Putin

On February 10, Nemtsov wrote in a news website, “I’m afraid Putin will kill me.”

Golan Wine Medals

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

The so-called “Zionist Camp” was accused of having “blood on its hands.”

Actor Leonard Nimoy, 83, “lived long and prospered” but on Friday moved on to explore the Next World.

Iran already has enough centrifuges for a nuclear weapon.

Learning lessons from Protective Edge, Israel is building an underground training field, and will train special units in tunnel warfare.

The unique desert landscape that covers large parts of Israel allow for its positioning as a leading destination for cyclists, with a comfortable climate year-round and spectacular desert scenery.

Once again al Quds’ Said Arikat used the State Dept. Briefing room to slander Israel with false “facts.”

“If no one is infallible, how is it possible that Netanyahu in his opposition to a potential Iran deal is wrong and you guys are all right?”

US Intelligence Chief Says ISIS ‘low priority’ for Turkey.

Thousands of ultra orthodox Jews attend the wedding of the granddaughter of the rabbi of the ultra orthodox Jewish Kretchnif dynasty in Kiryat Tsanz, Netanya.

Kerry not only is evading Netanyahu but also is trying to upstage him.

House Speaker John Boehner asserts next week’s speech to Congress by Israeli PM Netanyahu won’t hurt US-Israel relations.

Jordan and Israel signed an historic agreement Thursday to implement the Red Sea-Dead Sea rescue pipeline project.

More Articles from JNS News Service
Thirty-six young girls who have lost a parent celebrated their Bat Mitzvah at a Colel Chabad event.

The Jewish welfare organization Colel Chabad this week hosted a Bat Mitzvah celebration  in Jerusalem for 36 girls who have lost a parent. Most of the parents died from illness or terror attacks, and one Bat Mitzvah girl’s father was the first Israel Defense Forces casualty during last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas. “Family […]

The Israel-based Dan David Foundation has awarded this year’s Dan David Prize for scientific, technological, and cultural accomplishments to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, among other prominent honorees. The three annual $1 million prizes are administered by Tel Aviv University and named for late philanthropist Dan David. In the past, it has been awarded to former […]

It’s a safe bet to say that the overwhelming number of American football fans in Israel cheered on the Patriots.

Earlier this week, ten Israeli tourists were violently assaulted in an anti-Semitic attack at a hostel in Argentina.

The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, an umbrella group representing 57 Muslim countries based in Saudi Arabia, plans to visit the Temple Mount Monday. Iyad bin Amin Madani is scheduled to make the visit as part of a trip that also includes a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, OnIslam.net […]

Egypt gives the Jews a reminder not to go back there.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/oldest-known-masks-in-the-world-on-display-in-israel/2014/03/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: