Memento Mori: the beautiful ways we have kept the dead among the living

Art historian Paul Koudounaris travelled the world, visiting 30 countries to document the practices—ancient to modern, solemn to joyous—by which human remains are displayed. From good luck charms to genocide memorials, his gorgeous art book Memento Mori collects the finds.

Lights and chandeliers made from booze bottles and books

The Moonshine Lamp Company makes beautiful lights out of booze bottles, such as the Crystal Skull Sconce and the eight-bottle chandelier; but they also make lights out of hardcovers, including one made from Jeremy Scahill's superb investigative 2007 book Blackwater. (via Neatorama) Read the rest

Popular Skullture - the skull motif in pulps, paperbacks, and comics

Monte Beauchamp’s book, Popular Skullture is a refreshing look back at the early days of mass culture print publishing, when skulls still evoked a sense of the macabre. Skulls are no longer scary symbols of death, poison, or motorcycle outlaws. As design elements they are so popular now that they appear on baby clothing. They’ve become kind of boring, because they’ve lost their punch.

Apart from a couple of short introductory pieces at the beginning, the book consists entirely of skull-themed cover art from pulp magazines, comic books, and paperback novels. With an eye for the imaginative, Beauchamp has selected covers that make clever, odd, and funny use of skulls.

See sample pages of Popular Skullture at Wink. Sign up for our weekly newsletter of cool book recommendations. Read the rest

The Raven's Chamber: a mad scientist's apparatus

Art Donovan (previously) created this amazing, mixed-media sculpture as a commission, called The Raven's Chamber, resembling some arcane astronomical instrument from a mad alchemist's lab. Read the rest

How Dali and Halsman made "In Voluptas Mors"

One of the most iconic images of Salvador Dali's career was the photo of a skull composed from the artfully arranged bodies of nude models. Read the rest

Skull pancake

Saipancakes Read the rest

Human skull lyre

19th century, with antelope horn, skin, gut, hair; plucked from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sadly, not on view at present. (via Kelly the Mortal Girl) Read the rest

17th century skull pocket watch

Don't tell anyone, but I plan to break into the Musée du Louvre and snatch this 17th century skull watch made by Jean Rousseau, grandfather of philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

Montre en forme de tête de mort Milieu du XVIIe siècle Genève Argent, laiton doré D. : 5,50 cm. ; H. : 4,50 cm.

"Montre en forme de tête de mort" (Thanks, Michael-Anne Rauback!) Read the rest

Sculptures made from repeating human bone motifs

Czech artist Monika Horčicová makes beautiful, haunting sculptures comprised of repeated, 3D-printed human bones. They remind me of the Capela dos Ossos in Portugal, whose walls and vaults are lined with bones of 5,000 parishoners from nearby churches. There's something about Czech artists and bones, it seems -- witness Alice, Jan Svankmajer's classic taxidermy adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.

PRÁCE / WORKS | Monika Horčicová (via Kadrey) Read the rest

Skeletons in space-suits

The Skeletons in Space Suits is a fabulous collection from a very diverse set of sources. I'm sure they could use your contributions -- do you have anything that'd work? Read the rest

Kickstarting a Skull-a-Day book

Noah Scalin writes "At long last I'm finally publishing all 365 of my original Skull-A-Day creations in a single book! I've partnered with Chop Suey Books, an amazing local independent bookseller here in Richmond, Virginia to finally create the ultimate volume of my yearlong skull art making project. The store is even launching a new imprint, Chop Suey Books Books, just to make and distribute this beautiful hardcover volume (if I do say so myself, since I'm the one that designed it!). I'm most excited about sharing a new model for artists and local businesses to work together to create something outside of the old systems, that can benefit us both, as well as our community. To kick things off we've decided to pre-sell the book on Kickstarter with some unique thank you gifts, including some of the actual original pieces of the project! I hope you'll check it out."

$24 gets you an early-bird book. Noah is a guy who ships what he starts, too. Read the rest

Beautiful shells carved with skulls

Gregory Halili carves stunning skulls into shells collected in the Philippines. Gallery over at Colossal and video below (thanks, Jean Hagan!).

Read the rest

Chrome skull knife-block

Monica Tsang's 2011 Skull Knife Stand sculpture appears to be a one-off, and not an object of commerce, and that is a silvery, skull-shaped shame. (via Kadrey) Read the rest

Melted cassette tape skulls and skeletons

Here's gallery of skeletons and skulls made from melted-down cassette tapes by Brian Dettmer. Memento mori for a dead medium.

Brian Dettmer's Melted Casette Tape Skeletons and Skulls

(via Neatorama) Read the rest

Sugar skull spoons for sale

Remember the kickstarter for the sugar skull spoon? They not only completed successfully, but are now in full production, and are available retail through the Colossal store for $13. Read the rest

Successful implant of 3D printed skull

Utrecht neurosurgeons 3D-printed a large section of a skull and implanted it in a 22-year-old woman with a bone disorder. According to the University Medical Centre Utrecht, this is the first time such a large implant has been successful without rejection, so far anyway. After three months, the patient is back at work and, according to the surgeon, "it is almost impossible to see that she's ever had surgery." (, thanks Wes Allen!) Read the rest

Forensic reconstruction of a Crystal Head Vodka skull

Nigel, a Scottish forensic artist, did this facial reconstruction job on a bottle of Crystal Head Vodka, yielding up a glimpse of how the grotesque crystalline monsters whose skulls are harvested by the Crystal Vodka people might look.

Crystal Head Vodka Forensic Facial Reconstruction Read the rest

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