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Figure of a man in a coffin, Italy, 1501-1600

Carved from wood, this figure shows a male corpse inside a coffin. The body is in advanced decay and worms are spilling from the stomach. The coffin is a memento mori. This is an object that reminds the viewer of the shortness of human life and the inevitability of death.

Object number:

A629458

 

Glossary:

Glossary: statue

A sculpture in the round representing human or animal figures or small figure groups; a statuette is a smaller sculpture.

Glossary: memento mori

Symbols intended to remind the viewer of death. Memento mori are often objects such as skulls or hourglasses, but can also be written inscriptions.

Glossary: rigor mortis

Temporary stiffening of the muscles which begins within a few hours of death due to biochemical changes. The condition may last for up to four days before subsiding.