Ghanaian Coffins

In case you missed it in comments, Katy Keck posted a link to some outlandish Ghanaian coffins. They are a bit like 50s novelty architecture in Los Angeles (doughnut shaped coffee shop, ship shaped coke factory etc). I am pretty sure Laura would have cracked up at this. Maybe she would have liked a giant turtle.  And you..?

G shoe

G camera

G fish

G coke

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4 thoughts on “Ghanaian Coffins

  1. I have a beautiful two volume photobook collection on African ceremonies. There is a chapter just on the Ga (one of the larger ethnic groups in Ghana) Fantasy Coffins. They have photos of a big pink fish, built for the Chief of Fisherman, 4 different trucks (for truck drivers and owners – one with an ad that says God’s time is the best), a boat for captain, a leopard for a tribal chief, as well as gilded birds, a crab, an airplane, a leek!, a cow and an eagle.

    Rather than seeing these as gross and commercial as they may seem to Westerners, to the Ga they are vehicles designed to transport the dead to the after world in dignity and style. At a Ga funeral, when the coffin is lowered into the ground, it begins a journey to life in another world. Funerals express a belief that family life extends to the realm of the dead, where ancestral spirits reside.

    The originator of the fantasy coffin was a carpenter, Kane Kewi, who created the first fantasy coffin to honor his uncle. The old man had been a fisherman and he wanted to be buried in a coffin that represented his trade so he could arrive in the hereafter ready to continue his work. (Author’s note: I won’t be working in the hereafter). This tradition only dates back to the 60s.

    When I was there, there was a several year waitlist for coffins. A man from Switzerland had just ordered one for his whole family. Laura would definitely want a turtle!

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