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Silver gilt pendant, ‘memento mori’, Europe, 1701-1900

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The tiny coffin is a form of ‘memento mori’, an object made to remind the wearer of the short length of life. It is decorated with crosses on all sides and opens to reveal a skeleton with a frog sitting on the abdomen. Frogs dramatically transform in their lifetime so they are associated with rebirth and resurrection. Memento mori were popular in 1700s and 1800s Europe. They were often carried in memory of a lost loved one.

Object number:

A38717

 

Glossary:

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: mourning

Trial term S&H