3116
3116
A FINELY CARVED IVORY MEMENTO MORI SKULL
17TH CENTURY
JUMP TO LOT
3116
A FINELY CARVED IVORY MEMENTO MORI SKULL
17TH CENTURY
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Curiosity V

|
Hong Kong

A FINELY CARVED IVORY MEMENTO MORI SKULL
17TH CENTURY
powerfully carved with half of the head depicted cadaverous and stripped of its remaining flesh with several teeth remaining, the other half rendered as a man with the eye shut below a bushy brow, the top of his head with tufts of hair, all divided by a loose flap of skin, the cadaverous side further accentuated with a scaly sinuous snake revealing its tongue, the other side of the skull with a clambering reptile, iron and mirror stands
h. 8.4 cm, 3 1/4  in.
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Catalogue Note

From the 16th century, skulls were commonly used as memento mori ('Remember death') as they symbolise the transience of human life. They were also known as 'Vanitas' from the reference in the Book of Ecclesiastes (1.2) to "vanity of vanities, all is vanities." See a carved ivory memento mori skull, similarly rendered with reptiles and modelled with a removable crown, sold in our London rooms, 6th July 2017, lot 124. 

Curiosity V

|
Hong Kong