A German Carved and Polychromed Lime-wood Small ‘Memento Mori’ Skull

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Object Description

A German Carved and Polychromed Lime-wood Small ‘Memento Mori’ Skull
18th Century

Size: 3.5cm high, 3.5cm wide, 4cm deep – 1¼ high, 1¼ ins wide, 1½ ins deep

Object History

Ex English Private collection

Object Literature

Death, for most people before the 19th century, was a major preoccupation. Life expectancy was under 40 and the Catholic church taught that after dying the soul faced a terrifying and uncertain onward journey. Images of skulls were a reminder of your own mortality, a reminder to live a good and pious life, to pray for your soul in eternity. A ‘memento mori’ that death comes for us all. As the Latin inscription on Archbishop Chicele’s tomb states, ‘Now I am cast down: and turned into food for worms’.

Object Details

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