Vanitas are works of art intended to remind the viewer of the shortness of human life, the uselessness of vanity and the certainty of death. This example features many symbols typical for this type of object, such as a skull and insects that feast on decaying flesh. The other side of the model shows the face during life. The verse scratched on to the front is from the biblical book of Ecclesiastes and reads “vanity of vanities, all is vanity”.
cat·a·falque noun \ˈka-tə-ˌfȯ(l)k, -ˌfalk\
1: an ornamental structure sometimes used in funerals for the lying in state of the body
2: a pall-covered coffin-shaped structure used at requiem masses celebrated after burial