Coffin makers in Ghana are adding a touch of fun to burial processes. They are creating fascinating coffins that will leave you with nothing to say.
They make coffins that are shaped like Mercedes, lions, fowl and even food ingredients among others.
These coffins became popular in the 1950s thanks to Seth Kane Kwei, Paa Joeâs uncle whom he understudied. In Ghana at the time, these coffins were referred to as âabeduu adekaiâ, which means âreceptacles of proverbsâ.
The coffin is created to illustrate a dead life by carving a symbolic physical vessel that supposedly conveys the deadâs journey to the afterlife.
A Ghanaian woodcarverÂ Joseph Tetteh Ashong, popularly known asÂ Paa JoeÂ is famous for making those fancy coffins that are hand-carved.
A pilot, for instance, might be buried in a large coffin in the shape of an aircraft. Or a musician, might be buried in a coffin shaped like a microphone. Whatever your career is or whoever you represent can be translated into a coffin.
The coffins are hand-carved to illustrate both who the dead persons were on earth and their journey of the afterlife.
Paa Joeâs family were prominent for making fantasy coffins for funerals in southern Ghana, but his is emotive and fun-loving.
Paa Joe exhibited his work at âGates of No Returnâ, which features a series of large wooden sculptures revealing Ghanaâs slave forts and castles at the American Folk Art Museum in New York.
Papa Joe, 72, started making coffin when he was 16 years and heÂ says: âIâm excited when my coffin has served a purpose and helped someone to travel to the afterlife.â
The most common coffin requests heâs had are fish, cocoa pod, and the Holy Bible.
To create the fancy coffins, Paa Joe uses hardwood for art pieces and exhibitions and soft wood for burials. The coffins are handcraft and hand painted.
Whether rich or poor, Paa Joe aims to satisfy the individualistic, religious and ritualistic demands of his clients. His handcrafted coffin designs include a miniatureÂ Air Jordan sneakerÂ and aÂ Louis Vuitton x Supreme bagÂ for shoe and fashion lovers in Ghana.
Even at his age, the Accra-based artist and craftsmanâs goal is to build an art academy for local and international art students so they can learn how to make coffins. He also hopes to build a coffin art gallery as well.
Check out some of his works in the video below