Ivory model of half a human head, half a skull, Europe, undated

undated in Europe

Ivory model of a head divided into two halves, one half depicts a male face, with a scroll bearing an inscription wrapped around his head, the other half depicts a skull, with mandible

Carved from ivory, this model shows a human male face on one side and a skull crawling with worms on the other. A banner with an inscription runs around the man’s face. This type of model is thought to be a memento mori – literally a reminder of death and the shortness of life. The skull was the symbol of death from the 1500s onwards. Previously death was represented as a skeleton accompanied by a living victim.


Anatomy & Pathology
Object Number:
skull anatomy (specimens), anatomy (specimens), head, male, model, skull
  • animal remains

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