Memento Mori Pomander in the form of a Skull

Probably Germany
Circa: 1625
Size: 1" (h)" x 7/8" (w) x 1" (d)
Pomanders are scent containers used from the middle ages through the 17th century and worn as aromatic talismans to ward off pestilence and odors when causes and cures for infections and other diseases were little understood containers as such provided comfort and olfactory relief.

In the form of a skull, the object served as a reminder that life could be fleeting and the phrase, “Memento Mori” (translation, ‘remember that you will die’) inscribed within reinforced that potent reminder.

The interior contains a compartment divided into six sections with a cover identifying various spices, including schlag (a composite of ambergris, musk, and civet), citron, muschat (nutmeg), canel (cinnamon), and rosewater. The open bottom mandible and large zygomatic bones are unusual and robust features of this exceptional example.

Related examples: The Bristish Museum, 1978,1002.162, and 1978,1002.219; The Metropolitan Museum, 60.55.8a, b

Condition: Excellent condition with expected wear from age and use. Missing silver post to top of skull that would connect to a chain.


Price: $16,000.00