Jean-Pierre Mohen

Rites of the Afterlife Publication date : September 2, 2010

Jean-Pierre Mohen is in charge of renovation of the Musée de l’Homme, the anthropological museum of Paris. He was formerly the director of the research laboratory for French museums and of the Department of Heritage and Collections of the Museum of the Quai Branly, in Paris. He is the author of Pierre vives de la préhistoire (2009), Le Nouveau Musée de l’Homme (2004) and Les Sciences du patrimoine (1999).

Humans define themselves in the way they relate to death. Funerary rites are the manifestation of this essential relationship to the afterlife — a relationship that also gives life meaning. Jean-Pierre Mohen reveals here a multitude of those rites in all their diversity and uniqueness: from the Palaeolithic Period to the Early Neolithic; from Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and China to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; from Jericho to Easter Island and Madagascar; from Greenland to the Sudan. In the process, he describes not only the vision humans had in the past of the afterlife but also of the here-and-now and he explains the changes that vision underwent through time and space.