Death and Afterlife

The Hellmouth is an entrance to hell that manifests as the open jaws of an infernal beast. Depictions of Hellmouths were common during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in manuscripts, and even as dramatic mechanical set pieces in theatrical productions.

Image sources:

  • Detail of The Mouth of Hell, from the Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves, 1440
  • Vision de l’Enfer (Vision of Hell), from Les Visions du chevalier Tondal, 1475
  • Ludolf of Saxony, Inferno, from Speculum Humanae Salvationis, 1455
  • Lambert of Saint-Omer, Liber Floridu, 1250 – 1275
  • Detail of Jugement Dernier – Damnés (Last Judgement – The Damned Souls), 1492

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The Dance of Death or (Danse Macabre) is an allegory used in art and literature, popular in the Late Middle Ages, that uses the personification of death to remind us that death unites us all, regardless of one’s station in life. Sources: The Dance of Death (1493) by Michael Wolgemut and “The dance of death in painting and in print” (1887) by T. Tindall Wildridge

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According to Kabbalah, when a person’s body decomposes or is cremated, a tiny bone at the base of the spine, called the luz, always remains intact. When the dead are resurrected, their physical bodies will reconstitute from this seed-like bone. Image: J. Gamelin, 1778⠀

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