Funeral Industry News

Be Buried In a Shoe? Its Happening!

October 27, 2010

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Be Buried In a Shoe? Its Happening!

imageA coffin might be your most lasting purchase — so shouldn’t it make a lasting impression?

Craftsmen in the African nation of Ghana have gained international acclaim for their flashy, custom-built coffins, which are individually designed to resemble an object with special meaning to the person who died.

From gigantic hammers and oversize snails to comically large cell phones and humongous pineapples, the caskets made by the Ga tribe are very personalized.

The coffins are often large-scale representations of objects that held significance to the deceased, or items indicative of the field in which they worked, such as a car for a driver or a sewing machine for a seamstress, according to

The coffins aren’t just a tribute to the person who died — they also represent the person’s social status and are believed to serve as a home in the afterlife. So it’s no surprise that families spend hundreds of dollars for specially made caskets shaped like Nike sneakers, roosters or Coca-Cola bottles.

The tradition of designing custom coffins dates back about six decades, when a village chief hired craftsman Ata Owoo to make an elaborate chair shaped like an eagle, the BBC reported.

Impressed by Owoo’s handiwork, a chief from another village soon ordered a similar chair modeled after a cocoa pod. But before the the chair was finished, the chief died, so the cocoa-inspired seat was converted into his coffin.

When the grandmother of one of Owoo’s apprentices died in 1951, Owoo made a coffin for her in the shape of an airplane because she had never flown in one.

Since then, coffin makers have assembled all kinds of custom caskets, though the most popular model is reportedly shaped like a Bible.

According to The Huffington Post, the custom coffins have become prized objects at museums around the world, and they’ve even turned the Accra suburb of Teshie, where many coffin makers design their wares, into a tourist destination.

Ghana’s custom coffins are certainly stunning — but they aren’t the world’s only colorful caskets. Earlier this year, a nonprofit in Singapore unveiled “Happy Coffins,” a series of bright coffins covered in witty quips intended to make death less scary.

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