Earthenware statue showing Death leading a canon to his fate, Germany, 1701-1830

Made:
1701-1930 in Germany
maker:
Unknown

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DescriptionStatue of monk standing next to man with large wound in abdomen, German. Front view. Black graduated
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Statue of monk standing next to man with large wound in abdomen, German

The label in German at the base of the statue records a conversation between Death (the skeleton) and a canon or choirmaster who is standing next to him.

Death says:

So canon, you have loud and long

Been chanting your choral song;

Now harken to my pipe so clear,

Announcing that your death is here

The canon replies:

Yes, I have sung as canon free

Full many a grave sweet melody;

But Death’s pipe such discord has made

That I’m sore, startled and afraid

This statue draws on illustrations from the ‘Dance of Death’ at Basel, a series of illustrations that first appeared in the 1400s. Other illustrations show the Pope, clergymen, rulers, blind men, peddlers and court jesters being led by the hand by Death, emphasising that regardless of social status or wealth no-one is exempt.

Details

Category:
Wellcome (general)
Object Number:
A99720
Materials:
earthenware, ? material, wood
type:
statue
taxonomy:
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture
credit:
Buel, O.

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