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Christian Symbolism 5: The Skull -- This is a fun one, because it tends to disturb the squeaky-clean "niceness" that has unfortunately become identified with modern-day Christianity. We'll look at the two common meanings that the skull has had in traditional Christian art.
The first and most common usage is to place the skull in the iconography of certain saints. Mary Magdalene, Jerome, and Francis of Assisi spring immediately to mind, although the skull is frequently seen with other less popular saints, too. The saint is usually depicted meditating alone upon the skull or with the skull cleverly placed somewhere else in the image. The skull is a reminder of the brevity of life and the certainty of death, and it was not unheard-of for mediaeval religious to keep a human skull about to aid them in their meditations. This is the same idea as the old memento mori images that are not uncommon in classical antiquity.
Originally posted by Sparkie the Wondersnail
It could be a carryover from the Roman depictions of skeletons displayed in dining rooms to remind the people eating to embrace life because death comes quickly and to all.