Death traditions and customs are extremely varied around the world, with some cultures approaching the passing of a loved one with conservative services and others a celebration. One of the world's most unique and colorful death practices comes from the Greater Accra region of Ghana and are known as fantasy coffins. Fantasy coffins evolved from figurative palanquins, which were totems used to transport the royals of the Ga people. Today, their colorful designs have inspired a number of skilled carpenters, including Paa Joe, who's world-renowned for his avant-garde coffins.
Paa Joe has been creating elaborate coffins since 1989 and was the former apprentice of master carpenter Kane Kwei, who began his business in the 1950s. Throughout his career, Joe has created some of the most lavish and ridiculous coffins imaginable—from Nike sneakers to baguettes to airplanes to fish.
Joe's works have not only been celebrated throughout Ghana, but appreciated by collectors in art galleries around the world. We've curated some of our favorite custom pieces in the gallery below, take a look and let us know your thoughts on his work in the comments section.