Who says you can't take it with you?

Eco-coffins made of newspaper or wicker may be all very trendy, but that's not going to make you the envy of the cemetery. Ghanaian coffin-maker Paa Joe has a much better idea — a carved wooden coffin that represents your profession, or takes the shape of your most treasured or desired possession — and an exhibition of four of his more outlandish works opens today at Jack Bell Gallery in central London.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The trend is thought to have started in the Fifties with the Ga people of south-east Ghana, as a way of venerating the recently deceased and giving them an appropriate send-off. Therefore a business man might be packed into the white Merc above, a cocoa farmer might get a giant cocoa pod, and a fisherman might be entombed, Jonah-style, in a huge fish (below).

These pictures show the coffins outside the studio of Paa Joe (bottom), who has now become one of the most celebrated coffin-makers in Ghana (his work has already been acquired by the British Museum). If you'd like to see Joe's work, or perhaps be inspired for your own casket — a seven-foot Starbucks cup? A giant iPad? — the exhibition will run until 15 January.

Jack Bell Gallery, 276 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V www.jackbellgallery.com

Picture 009 Picture 003 Picture 001 g4