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Figures modeled or molded in beeswax, either as finished pieces or for use as forms for casting metal (seelost-wax casting) or creating preliminary models. At ordinary temperatures, beeswax can be cut and molded easily, it melts at a low temperature, it mixes with any colouring matter and takes surface tints well, and its texture can be modified by a variety of additives. The ancient Egyptians used wax figures of deities in their funeral rites, and the Romans used wax images as presents in the Saturnalia. Michelangelo used wax models in making preliminary sketches for his statues. Wax medallion portraits, popular in the 16th century, enjoyed renewed popularity in the 18th century. John Flaxman made many wax portraits and relief figures which Josiah Wedgwood translated into pottery. Exhibitions of wax figures are still popular, the most famous being those of Madame Tussaud's museums in London and other international cities.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on wax sculpture, visit Britannica.com.
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