Early Hearse Panel
Antique hand-carved wooden panel from a horse-drawn hearse, c. mid-19th century. A stunning example of folk art carving. The trompe l’oeil effect is surreal: the folds in the somber wooden mourning curtains are sinuous and lively, giving the illusion of motion, like ripples on black water—of the River Styx, perhaps?
A suite of these panels would have originally been inset into the walls of a horse-drawn hearse, and imitated a more lavish, drapery-laden carriage ferrying the deceased to a final resting place. The black mourning fabric, carved in wood: a final curtain that does not fall, but is set before us, undeniable and irreversible. The funereal folk carving seems to speak to the certainty and impenetrable mystery of death, but also the fixed nature of fate.
Found in Vermont in a collection of folk art hearse panels.
35.5 inches tall
15.5 inches wide
1.25 inches deep
Very good antique condition, with a few scratches, minor paint loss, and chips at the edges.
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