memento mori

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Collection of lachrymatorys (or lachrymosas), these tear catchers or tear vials - sometimes worn on a necklace, sometimes merely held - were used to gather the tears wept by mourners at funerals, to hold the tears of people mourning the passing of loved ones. One type of lachrymosa had a special top which allowed the tears to evaporate (signifying the time to stop mourning), others had a sealed top to allow the tears to last for a year, at which point they would be poured on the grave of the person whom the tears were wept for, Victorian era, 19th Century.

Whenever you see flies or insects in a still life—a wilted petal, a black spot on the apple—the painter is giving you a secret message. He’s telling you that living things don’t last—it’s all temporary. Death in life. That’s why they’re called natures mortes. Maybe you don’t see it at first with all the beauty and bloom, the little speck of rot. But if you look closer—there it is.
—  The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt