03/06/2013 10:21 BST | Updated 04/06/2013 04:20 BST

Weird Coffins On Display In Nottinghamshire By Ghana Craftsman Paa Joe (PICTURES)

Paa Joe and his trademark lion coffin

Most people wouldn't dwell for too long on the appearance of their own coffin. After all, you're dead, so it doesn't really matter what you're buried in… right?


Creative coffin-maker Joseph Ashong, known as Paa Joe, is one of the Ga-Adangbe people from Ghana, where special caskets are a way of life, or rather death.

Known for their funeral celebrations and processions, Paa Joe taps into the tradition of buried the deceased in a coffin that reflects their personality, occupation, or their standing in the community.

Creative caskets from Nottingham's crazy coffins

He is leaving Ghana for only the second time in his life to spend a month as an artist in residence at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, to show his coffins shaped like lions and coke bottles. His creations sit alongside those by Crazy Coffins, a Nottingham based company.

In 2008 Paa Joe was forced from move his workshop located in the centre of Accra to his storage hut two hours away, and his

Ghanaian customers didn’t follow.

Now Paa Joe’s works are exhibited internationally as examples of the Ga culture and the craftsman-turned artist is to be the subject of a documentary by Benjamin Wigley.

A spokesperson for Paa Joe said the craftsman "is the Grandfather of the fantasy coffin trade,” adding: “Since sixteen he has been crafting beautiful coffins that represent the lives of the people for whom they are made – a Coca Cola bottle for a street vendor or a lion for the head of a family. He has produced thousands of coffins, the majority of which lie deep under the ground."

Check out some of the coffins displayed below.