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Memento Mori Skull Or Death is Sure

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This is a memento mori trinket -- Remember your mortality", "Remember you must die" or "Remember you will die". Very elaborate ivory skulls were made to sit on scholars' desks, especially in Japan and India. Memento mori, however, is a wide genre of art that includes many cultures, all with the same purpose-- the message or reminder of mortality.

This skull was made in Japan for the modest consumer before WWII, and after 1890. It might be a matchstick holder. The bisque finish would allow one to strike a match on the back of the book. Note that the teeth have a little bit of a gloss to heighten their appearance. There are also gold flies on the forehead, rather macabre, but fitting.

It is excellent condition, no chips. Some of the gold paint has come off the flies. I cannot explain the egg—perhaps to signify life? Great gift for a medical student.

If you would like to purchase more than one item from my shop, drop me a line for a combined shipping price.

Memento Mori Skull Or Death is Sure


  • Vintage item from the 1920s
  • Materials: bisque, ceramic
  • Only ships within United States.
  • Feedback: 262 reviews
  • Favorited by: 4 people