An English plaster mask of King Midas,
originally modelled as a bronze fountain mask, his mouth a spout, the shocked king with ass's ears,
Firm connection between the legendary King Midas and historical figures that he might allude to are not set in stone. There certainly were two or maybe three contenders in Phrygia and Lydia pre-Troy but let’s not get bogged down with that here.
King Midas is best known for being granted a wish by Silenus that everything he touched would turn to gold (having discovered the drunken Silenus collapsed in the woods he had taken him in and entertained him for a week or two). The unanticipated downside of Midas’ wish was of course that thereafter his food and drink, and in some versions his daughter, were turned to gold.
A subsequent story, depicted here, is that Midas – cured of his Midas’ touch – fell-in with Pan. When Pan had found himself in a musical competition against Apollo – Pipes versus Lyre – Midas was the only one present to back his friend and patron Pan. Bad move. Apollo felt Midas must “have the ears of an ass” to have mis-heard the contest in Pan’s favour and, to make his point, transformed the King’s ears accordingly. Apparently Midas hid his ears under a turban from then on. Only his barber knew the secret. And then there’s something about the barber whispering the secret into a hole in the ground, some reeds later grew there and whispered the secret for all to hear.
This mask was modelled for LASSCO in the 1980’s and was cast in bronze. We have recently revived the mould for casting in plaster – as here. Please make an enquiry if you would like the mask lost-wax cast in bronze.