A mystery – what does it mean, this skull wearing glasses?

Is this a skull wearing glasses?

When I was in Scotland I found an old mausoleum that had some carvings around the inside wall. One of them was of a skull that seemed to be wearing glasses. I have searched the ‘Net and can’t seem to find an explanation – does anyone know anything about this type of carving?

Around the walls there was also an inscription that said in Latin, Sic Transit, Gloria Mundi, which apparently means, “And so the glory of this world shall fade.”

Interesting puzzle, no? Any input would be welcome! By the way, the mausoleum was apparently erected in 1742.

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4 Responses to A mystery – what does it mean, this skull wearing glasses?

  1. Ron Mudie says:

    Hi, Yes I saw this many years ago and at that time my Grandfather was a Master stone mason. He said it was done by a mason feeling his own face to get a better idea of how the skull is shaped. Not many masons had seen a skull and never did. Most sculpted from others ideas,and, as I said others felt over their own face to get dimentions etc. The ‘legs of the glasses’ are the jutting bone the mason felt from the eye socket to the ear and included them in the carving. My grandfather too said this particular mason would have done this as a ‘one off’, and building would probably have been his trade.

  2. Dawn-Ann says:

    Thank you for your excellent explanation, Ron. I have never heard of such a thing but it makes so much sense. Very interesting!

  3. Ron Mudie says:

    Hi Dawn-Anne, I am the chap who posted the comment ref: “The spectacle skull” back in 2010 and since I have seen several of the same in my haunts for grave-stones, mausoleums, and old, old graveyards mostly in Scotland. The reason I gave for the spectacles on a skull still stays with me; as on delving into the history of sculpting many a mason followed, only, his own learning, from, if lucky, a master mason, no classes back then.
    I came across a carving of a skeleton done by an 18th C. mason and it was really comical but did show this mason had never cast eyes on a real skeleton. The grave-yard was Kildrummy in North Scotland.
    Regards Ron.

  4. Dawn-Ann Dawn-Ann says:

    Wow – thanks so much for getting back to me on this, Ron! I really appreciate your comments and they do make a lot of sense. Cheers! Dawn

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