‘L’Inconnue de la Seine’ Porcelain Mask

R380.00

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‘L’Inconnue de la Seine’ Porcelain Mask

R380.00

According to my (somewhat poor) memory, I’ve sold one of these wall masks before, but I’m fairly certain that I didn’t know the story behind that almost disturbingly serene face at the time.

Referred to as the ‘unknown woman of the Seine‘  or ‘L’inconnue de la Seine‘, legend has it that the face belongs to a young woman who was pulled out of the Seine River in Paris around the late 1800’s. Because her body showed no signs of violence, it was suspected that she had taken her own life. According to the story a pathologist at the morgue was so taken by her beauty that he made a wax cast of her face. It has been questioned though whether the expression of the face could be that of someone who drowned, so another simpler (and less disturbing!) version is that the face is that of a daughter of a mask manufacturer in Germany. Either way the identity of the girl was never discovered, hence the name of the artwork.

Today’s version, which is immaculate, and quite beautiful, is stamped “FX 20″ on its underside, and according to most sites was made in the 1930s by German porcelain manufacturer, W Goebel. It’s a striking and really expertly crafted piece of art that’s sure to illicit a few questions from your visitors, and now you know the rather peculiar story that goes with it!

P.S. In addition to being reproduced as art, the face is also used for CPR dolls! A slightly bizarre fact, but there you have it!

Dimensions: 15.5cm tall x 14cm wide x6 cm deep

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