Memento Mori CoffinYour model is disabled. For more details go to Edit properties3D Model
Unknown maker, Germany, c.1575–1600
Boxwood, 50.8mm long
This astonishing object is shaped as a miniature coffin. Inside are three detachable panels that are carved with scenes of the Last Judgement and a decomposing human body. Once all the panels are removed, a skeleton is revealed.
Working on a tiny scale, the sculptor would have first cut back the outer dimensions to allow the placement of the internal panels, each of which is carved separately. This gave him unhindered access to each layer and allowed him to achieve highly intricate details.
The coffin acts as a memento mori: a reminder of life’s transience on earth and the inevitability of death. Small enough to be held in the hand, it would have lent itself to close study by its beholder, who would be able to observe its minutely delineated narrative scenes, astonishing details and fine surface textures.
Part of the Wernher Collection at Ranger’s House