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A curious, if not macabre, occurrence of a snail is seen in this object, which is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. It is a four-faced rosary bead made of ivory and showing the bust of a skeleton (Death) holding an hourglass in his right hand and bending his left arm around to touch the chest of the old man; vermin; worms; snail; toad. Carved inscription: ‘EGO SUM’ (I am/I exist). This object is dated ca. 1525–1550 and originates either from Flanders or northern France [1].

VAM 2149-1855_

On the head a snail is visible, a dextral specimen of a rather flat-shelled species.

VAM 2149-1855_d

[1] VAM, inv. 2149-1855. http://bit.ly/1B1g4CP.