This Workshop Designs Unconventional Coffins To Symbolize A Loved One's Life

Mar 15, 2015

This Airstream trailer looks great, but there’s something about that’s not quite right. Turns out, it’s not a trailer at all, but an incredibly well-made coffin, and it can be yours for just $4500 on eBay. This unique, trailer-shaped coffin (and many other custom designs) comes from the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop in Ghana, where it was built by Nii Anum, a disciple of Kane Kwei. 

Kwei was born in the 1920s and started out as a young apprentice to a local carpenter called Ata Owoo, who was entrusted with the duty of making coffins for tribal chiefs. Kwei was inspired by a cocoa-pod coffin that Owoo made for a chief who was a cocoa farmer. After his grandmother passed away in 1951, Kwei used his skills and inspiration to make her an airplane coffin. The coffin was so well loved by the locals of his town of Accra that he realized he’d just found his true calling.

Though Kwei is now gone, his workshop still remains a fixture in Accra and is a flourishing business selling coffins both locally and internationally. All the coffins they make are symbolic of the lives and interests of the deceased, like fish for fishermen, corn on the cob for farmers, planes for pilots (or plane enthusiasts), and of course, even Airstream trailers if that’s your thing. As you’ll see in the photos below, as long as you can pay for it, there is no request deemed too bizarre.

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I wonder what archaeologists a few thousand years from now will make of these?

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Death is generally a gloomy affair, but if you’ve gotta go, then why not go in style? If you agree with that school of thought, you should definitely go pay a visit to the workshop’s website or take a look at their Facebook. Even if you’re not really thinking that far ahead, it’s still fascinating to just admire the craftsmanship and ingenuity of these pieces.

Credit: Messy Nessy Chic | Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop

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