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 Mask

Funeral Mask

Gold Funeral Mask, Nasca Culture, Peru, Southern Coast, 300 B.C. to 600 A.D., Gold, Donated by Georges Henri-Rivière, 71.1930.49.1

The Nasca culture marks the emergence of goldsmithing on Peru's southern coast. In comparison to other pre-Hispanic populations of ancient Peru, Nasca goldsmiths seemed to have limited themselves to the fabrication of a few kinds of pieces, usually made of gold, which were meant for the adornment of the bodies of the elite, and for the funeral rites dedicated to the same. This mask, in all likelihood, constituted an adornment for the funeral load. It is a representation of an entity's face that is often illustrated in Nasca art: a mythical being whose hair is made up of appendages that taper into serpents' heads. The mask is made from gold leaf that was hammered out, carefully polished, then ornamented with openwork, according to the desired form.