Of all the items I saw on display at the archaeological museum in Naples, this small skull carving recovered from the ruins of Pompeii, is my favorite.
Our tour guide Hilaria told us it was a decorative item, typically placed on a table during a feast.
Particularly as you celebrate. Memento Mori. Remember Death
Whose table did it sit on? I wish I knew.
I wish I could hear a story about how that person died in the arms of her lover. Or perhaps tell me a tale of how the carver of this small item lived, because he was visiting an old friend in Rome when the volcano erupted. He never carved again, and he carried this piece in his pocket till the day he eventually died, of old age.
I would have gladly taken this skull home with me. I would have loved to place it on my own table. I took a picture instead.
Life is short and unpredicable.
We only have one life to live. There is no guarantee beyond the present. Sometimes you don’t want to think about it. Sometimes you have to put a little skull on the table to remind yourself of this.
More about Memento Mori here