Burial mask of Agamemnon, Greek, c 1550 BC.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Copy. According to Greek mythology, Agamemnon was king of Mycenae, and the leader of the Greek expedition to Troy. He is believed to have lived around 1550 BC. The original gold mask was Mycenaean, excavated in Shaft Grave V at Mycenae by the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in 1876. This gilt copy made in 1900-1914 was purchased in Athens in 1914. Gilding is a term used not only to the fixing of gold leaf but also fixing of other metals to the surfaces of wood, paper, stucco, glas, metals and textiles. There are various methods of gilding, some more durable and versatile than others. The best known method of gilding is the application of gold leaf, which was used in Egypt as early as 1500 BC.