Iron Mask 17th or 18th Century
Possibly from a scold’s bridle or mask of infamy. A scold’s bridle was an instrument of punishment, as a form of torture and public humiliation. The device was an iron muzzle in an iron framework that enclosed the head. A bridle-bit (or curb-plate), about 2 inches long and 1 inch broad, projected into the mouth and pressed down on top of the tongue.
The mask of infamy was a torture device used as a form of humiliation. The mask itself caused no physical torture, but the wearer was often chained to a post where he or she was tortured by various members surrounding the scene. The mask would sometimes have a ball, or other type of inner device, to prevent the wailing or screaming of the wearer. The types of masks represented the crime. For example, if the person was considered dirty, he or she would wear the pig shaped mask. It would be locked onto the head for a time determined by the accuser.
This item was originally displayed as an executioner’s mask alongside a block and axe in the Tower of London.