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Memento mori showing a decomposing corpse, Europe, pre 1936

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Crawling with maggots, this unusual wooden model shows a decomposing corpse exposed by an open coffin. Little is known about the model. It is thought to be a memento mori. These objects are reminders of death and the shortness of life. Memento mori come in different shapes and sizes. Up until the 1500s, death was often represented by a skeleton leading a living victim to their fate. A skull became a more common representation of death after this date.

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Glossary: memento mori

Symbols intended to remind the viewer of death. Memento mori are often objects such as skulls or hourglasses, but can also be written inscriptions.