Memento mori showing woman with half a head and half a skull

Made:
1801-1900 in Italy
Memento mori showing woman with half a head and half a skull (memento mori) Wooden bust of a woman, half head, half skull Wooden bust of a woman, half head, half skull Wooden bust of a woman, half head, half skull

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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

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

License

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, London.

Wooden bust of a woman, half head, half skull
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden bust of a woman, half head, half skull
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden bust of a woman, half head, half skull
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden bust of a woman, half head, half skull, mounted on a ivory and wooden stand, possibly Italian, possibly 19th century

Carved from wood, this statue shows a woman with half of her head intact and the other half with a bare skull. This type of figure is known as a memento mori – literally a reminder of death, used to prompt people about the shortness of life and the inevitability of death. A skull was used to represent death from the 1500s onwards, replacing the older image of a skeleton leading a living person to their fate.

Details

Category:
Anatomy & Pathology
Collection:
Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
A641349
Materials:
bust, wood, bust, mineral, bust, metal, stand, ivory, stand, wood and stand, metal
Measurements:
overall: 148 mm x 52 mm x 51 mm, .18 kg
type:
memento mori
credit:
Loan, Wellcome Trust