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Today: Fantasy Coffins
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There are plenty of odd funerary customs out there—from Tibetan sky burials to Mushroom Death suits—but, when most of us expire, we retire to a mass-produced wooden box or urn. Not in Accra, Ghana. There, Kane Kwei Coffins handcrafts some of the most unique caskets we have ever seen!
Founded in the 1950s by Seth Kane Kwei, this workshop is the first to specialize in abebuu adekai, Ga for proverb boxes, also known as fantasy coffins.
For the Ga tribe, funerals are a time for both mourning and celebration. Believing their loved ones move on to another life after they pass, the Ga make sure they do it elaborately—honoring the dead with brightly colored caskets that reflect their personalities, interests or professions.
Due to the extravagance (and the expenses associated with it) funerals often take months to plan. This time gives the carpenters at the Kane Kwei workshop the opportunity to create their coffins. One of the most popular designs, a cocoa pod, takes just a week to build, but other special requests can require months of work.
Believe it or not, bodies are sometimes kept in the morgue for years before a Ga funeral.