Coffin in the Form of a Fish

In coastal Ghana, one last way for family members to honor a deceased relative is by burial in a so-called “designer” or fantasy coffin. Bold, colorful, and inventive, these coffins relate to the deceased’s profession, status, or accomplishments and take the form of objects ranging from cars (Mercedes Benz is a favorite) to cocoa pods (one of the region’s important cash crops). Along the coast, many people’s occupations are sea-related, so it is not surprising to find coffins in the form of boats, outboard motors, fishing nets, lobsters, crabs, and fish of various forms and colors. (Courtesy Eskenazi Museum of Art.)