Ivory model of a skull and snake, Europe, undated

Made:
undated in Europe
maker:
Unknown

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

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

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

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

Ivory model of a skull, mandible absent, with snake coiled around the top

Carved from ivory, this model shows a human skull with the lower jaw missing and a snake coiled around the top. Not much is known about what this object was used for although it may have been a memento mori – literally a reminder of death and the shortness of life. The skull was the symbol of death from the 1500s onwards. Previously death was represented as a skeleton accompanied by a living victim.

Details

Category:
Anatomy & Pathology
Object Number:
A641323
type:
skull
taxonomy:
  • animal remains
credit:
Glendining

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