Memento mori skull and crossbones

Made:
1801-1900 in Europe
Group shot of various memento mori Group shot of various memento mori Momento mori skull, wood, with crossbones, probably European

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Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

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Group shot of various memento mori
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Group shot of various memento mori
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Momento mori skull, wood, with crossbones, probably European
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Memento mori skull, wood, with crossbones, (probably) European, 19th century

Memento mori figures were used to remember the dead and remind the living of the fragility of life. In this example, a skull sits on top of crossed bones. This is the traditional symbol of piracy, but the skull and crossbones had other meanings. It suggested the ultimate triumph of death over life, for example Shakespeare’s famous scene in which Hamlet holds the skull of Yoric. Memento mori often incorporate other objects which illustrate the same theme, such as sand timers and candles.

Details

Category:
Anatomy & Pathology
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A99556
Materials:
wood
Measurements:
overall: 260 mm x 233 mm x 175 mm, 1.873 kg
type:
memento mori
credit:
Hirsbrunner