Ghana's coffin art lets people bury their loved ones in style

In European cultures, we cremate our dead or bury them in a simple pine box. But coffins are a lot fancier in Ghana, where the Ga people believe that life continues in another world after death, and they want it to carry on in style. Here are some stunning examples of Ghana's famous coffin art.

Top image: Coffin by Paa Joe, via Särge aus Ghana

These colorful figurative coffins below are made since 1945, when Ataa Oko, a local artist and art brut painter decided to take coffin art to a new level. A studio named Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop was founded by Seth Kane Kwei in the 1950s and the number of fantasy coffin artists are constantly growing ever since.

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Image via Jean-Michael Rousset, 2010.

The first figurative coffin of Ghana, made by Kane Kwei in the 1950s for his grandmother

(via Musée du Quai Branly)

A battleship-like coffin by Ataa Oko, c. 1960

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(via Regula Tschumi/Wikimedia Commons)

A Nike sneaker, made in 1990 by Paa Joe

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(via Brooklyn Museum and Neil R)

A Golden African Eagle, 2010, by Paa Joe

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(via Jack Bell Gallery)

A Nikon F2 camera, 2011, by Paa Joe

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(via Jack Bell Gallery)

A Ghana Airways airplane, 2010, by Paa Joe

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(via Jack Bell Gallery)

A red fish, 2010, by Paa Joe

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(via Jack Bell Gallery)

A telephone coffin by Kudjoe Affutu, painted by his own sign painter named Cikle, 2009

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(via Regula Tschumi)

An 1973 Porsche 911 2.7 R.S in color 'Baby Blue', made by Paa Joe

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(via African Colours)

A red rooster by Ataa Oko, 2009

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(via Regula Tschumi/Wikimedia Commons)

Gas truck, by Paa Joe

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(via Eleanor Hartzell)

A lobster, by Paa Joe

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(via Saerge aus Ghana)

An Alitalia airplane by Paa Joe

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(via Saerge aus Ghana)

A sandal coffin, made by Paa Joe and Regula Tschumi for the Kunstmuseum Berne, 2006

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(via Regula Tschumi/Wikimedia Commons)

The Angry Crab by Paa Joe

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(via MediaMatic)

Lions by Paa Joe

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(via Emilio Labrador, Holly Pierce and Saerge aus Ghana)

A Canon EOS camera by Paa Joe

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(via spinning jenny)

A car-shaped coffin by Daniel Mensah (also known as "Hello"), 2006

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(via Regula Tschumi/Wikimedia Commons)

An 1964 Corvette

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(via Paa Joe/Facebook)

A key, by Paa Joe

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(via Saerge aus Ghana)

A leopard by Kudjoe Affutu, 2010

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(via Regula Tschumi)

A flying car in KLM colors

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(via Radio Nederland Wereldomroep)

A mouse

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(via GhanaCoffin)

A Mercedes-Benz, 2010, by Paa Joe

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(via Jack Bell Gallery)

A pig

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(via Easy Track Ghana)

A cow, by Paa Joe

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(via Saerge aus Ghana)

A red rooster by Paa Joe, 2006

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(via Regula Tschumi)

Cocoa pod, 2010, by Paa Joe

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(via Jack Bell Gallery)

An open-end wrench

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(via GhanaCoffin)

A DAF truck

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(via Radio Nederland Wereldomroep)

A hammer

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(via spinning jenny)

A hen by Eric Kpakpo

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(via Regula Tschumi)

A hen, made by Kudjoe Affuto, 2008

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(via Regula Tschumi/Wikimedia Commons)

A bottle of beer by Paa Joe

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(via bookbird)

A blue truck with firewood

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(via Kudjoe Affutu/Facebook)

An elephant, by Paa Joe

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(via Lia/catface3)

An old Nokia phone, by Paa Joe

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(via Holly Pierce)

A leather shoe

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(via Scoophunters)

A ballpoint pen

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(via Easy Track Ghana)

The Holy Bible, by Paa Joe

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(via Saerge aus Ghana)

Coca-Cola by Paa Joe

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(via John Nash and Emilio Labrador)

A pineapple, by Paa Joe

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(via Eleanor Hartzell)

A fire truck by Paa Joe

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(via Easy Track Ghana)

A pepper, by Paa Joe

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(via Saerge aus Ghana)

The Centre Pompidou coffin, by Kudjoe Affutu, 2010

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(via Regula Tschumi/Wikimedia Commons)

A crocodile, by Eric Kpakpo, 2013

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(via Regula Tschumi)

A lightbulb by Kudjoe Affutu, 2013

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(via Kudjoe Affutu/Facebook)

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