funeral rites

Funeral rites play a privileged, not to mention primordial role in man’s relationship with what is sacred. 

Through their rich ceremonies they underline the point to which death is present and accepted in non-western societies where the deceased, who will become ancestors, are an integral part of life.

This close relationship between the living and the dead very often passes through a vast exchange system that is symbolic, spiritual and physical all at once and manifests itself through offerings and is embodied in the moulded sculpture, a sign of durability and object of memory.


  • Ceremonial Sculpture

    Ceremonial Sculpture

  • Ancestral Skull

  • Headdress Mask

  • Reliquaire zoomorphe (poisson), crâne

    Zoomorphic (fish) Reliquary, Skull

  • Funeral Effigy

  • Funeral Mannequin

  • Mourner's Mask

  • Funeral Ceremony

  • Bronze Funeral Drum

  • Funeral Statue

  • Anthropomorphic Statues

  • Anthropomorphic Mask

  • Reliquary Guardian Statuette

  • Skull Representation

  • Anthropomorphic Funeral Post

  • Female Figure

  • Funeral Bag

  • Pedestal Bowl, With Zoomorphic Decoration

  • Bowl

  • Funeral Mask

  • Funeral Urn

Funeral Urn

Funeral Urn

Funeral Urn, Mosquito Culture, Colombia, Department of Magdalena, Horizon Funeral Urns, Middle Ages (600 - 1500 A.D.), Terracotta, Donated by Don Georges-Henri Rivière, 71.1935.1.1

The Magdalena River Valley was home to numerous populations that had similar funeral customs: the bodies of the deceased were buried, then after the flesh decomposed the bones were placed in urns. These urns take, more or less, different forms, depending on which cultural group produced them. Along the lower middle section of the Magdalena River, one finds urns that have characteristics of the Mosquito style. They are distinguished by their covers, which have a male or female figure on top. These figures are usually sitting on an bench, hands resting on their knees. The bodies and extremities are stylized, and the calves of the legs are bulky. In general, the container has 3 or 4 handles and is decorated with heads modeled from cats or birds.