Memento Mori, "Remember You Must Die" - Antique Curiosities

Favourite Finds



Ahoy there and welcome to this week's instalment of 'Blog Post Monday'.

I've had another busy week out and about trying to source you some more new and exciting pieces.  Successful would be an understatement, not in terms of the quantity of items I found, but the quality of items I found, well, one in particular.  It's so special in fact that I've decided to dedicate this week's blog post to it.

So, as always, get that kettle on, dust off those will and testaments, and head for the light at the end of the tunnel, as we dig deep into the world of 'Memento Mori'...


Image:  this week's Momento Mori find - Buy HERE


'Memento Mori' is Latin and translates as ‘remember that you will die’.  A tradition of Western European culture and essentially pieces of art in their own right, these pieces were meant to remind people of mortality.


Image:  this week's Momento Mori find - Buy HERE


It's believed that 'Memento Mori' actually originates from Ancient Rome.  Victorious generals would return home from war to parades in their honour.  It was during these parades that it's said that a slave would walk behind the general, saying, “Respice post te. Hominem te memento,” roughly translating to ‘Look to what comes after you. Remember you are just a man.’


Image:  this week's Momento Mori find - Buy HERE


And, in the Middle Ages, the idea was used in a Christian context to remind followers that the afterlife awaited them.  The insides of churches were covered in 'Memento Mori' art, with skeletons and skulls being common theme, as well as depictions of kings, priests and peasants being led by the hand of Death.  


Image:  this week's Momento Mori find - Buy HERE


'Memento Mori' can be seen in works throughout history.  Artists would include objects such as skulls, bones and representations of death or the grim reaper in their works.  This can been seen in many forms, from paintings and sculptures to architecture and even jewellery.  One popular form of sculpture was the two sided head, where one side was the face of a living person and the other was a skull.  


Image:  this week's Momento Mori find - Buy HERE


The Victorians were very fond of mourning jewellery which itself contained representations of death and dying.  However, it wasn't just the Victorians, 'Memento Mori' jewellery has had periods of widespread popularity throughout history and even today, mourning jewellery remains very sought after and collectable.


Image:  this week's Momento Mori find - Buy HERE


I've owned a few pieces of 'Memento Mori' over the years, in a variety of different forms, ranging from pocket watch keys...


Image:  a previously owned Memento Mori pocket watch key 


And pendants...


Image:  a previously owned Whitby Jet Memento Mori Pendant


To pieces of prisoner of war art and sculptures...


Image:  Prisoner of War made Memento Mori - Buy HERE


I'd have to say that this week's find (pictured throughout) is my favourite to date.  It's a very fine example dating from the Victorian era, hand carved from solid ebony with inset bone teeth and in lovely condition too!  You don't see many of these! 


Image:  this week's Momento Mori find - Buy HERE


These works of art served a moral and religious purpose, reminding people that the afterlife awaited and to not be attached to material pleasures, in light of the prospect of divine judgment.  They are to help you focus on the importance of living your life to the fullest, by being aware of your own mortality, perhaps giving you a greater appreciation for life.


You'll be pleased to hear that this week's 'Memento Mori' find is currently available to buy HERE



Well, that's it for this week folks.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into the world of 'Memento Mori'.  As always, do let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, particularly if you've ever owned your own piece.

Remember, if you enjoy my posts, please show your support by subscribing to my 'Source Social' membership, which you can do via the 'Home' page.  It's free and gives you a weekly blog post and a fortnightly YouTube video delivered directly to your inbox, as well as exclusive discounts and first dibs on new items before they are added to our website.

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So, until next week, stay safe, keep buying those antiques and keep spreading that Source Vintage love!




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