Ivory memento mori

Made:
1601-1900 in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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Ivory model of a half head, half skull. Front view. Black background
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Ivory model of a half head, half skull. Side three quarter view. Black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Group shot of various memento mori, showing the variety of origins and different materials in the collection. From left
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Group shot of various memento mori, showing the variety of origins and different materials in the collection. Clockwise
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Group shot of various memento mori, showing the variety of origins and different materials in the collection. Clockwise
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Group shot of various memento mori, showing the variety of origins and different materials in the collection. Clockwise
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Group shot of various memento mori, showing the variety of origins and different materials in the collection. Clockwise
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Group shot of various memento mori, showing the variety of origins and different materials in the collection. Clockwise
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Group shot of various memento mori, showing the variety of origins and different materials in the collection. Clockwise
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Ivory model of a half head, half skull

One side of this carved ivory head shows a human face; the other side shows a skull. Not much is known about this model, but it is thought that it is 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.

On display

Science Museum: Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries

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Details

Category:
Anatomy & Pathology
Object Number:
A129116
type:
skull
taxonomy:
  • animal remains
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust

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