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Memento mori, Europe, 1601-1700

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Jewellery like this brooch is associated with mourning. Objects such as these were called memento mori, or ‘reminder of death’. The skeleton holding an hourglass reminded the wearer of the shortness of their life. Two cherubs sounding trumpets sit either side of the skeleton. The black and gold base may represent a coffin - another reminder of death. The initials 'JS' are stiched into the cloth. The initials belong to the person that this memento mori was made in memory of.

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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.

Glossary: mourning

Trial term S&H

Glossary: jewellery

Ornament such as a bracelet, necklace, and ring, of precious or semiprecious material worn or carried on the person for adornment; also includes similar articles worn or carried for devotional or mourning purposes.