Celebrating death in style: Ghana’s fantasy coffins

Story highlights

Some coffin makers in Ghana make elaborate "fantasy coffins"

The coffins are made to symbolize the deceased's profession in life

CNN  — 

It’s a business that thrives on death, but a group of coffin makers in Ghana has made something quite remarkable out of it.

They call themselves “fantasy” coffin makers and they make coffins that are anything but ordinary, producing caskets in the form of ships, buildings, animals, cars and much more.

They make caskets for families who believe that life transcends death and that the deceased will continue with his or her profession in the afterlife. The idea is that the dead have to be buried in something that represents the job they did while alive, so that they remember where they come from and what they have left behind.

Making fantasy coffins is a serious business in Ghana, says Joseph Ashong (better known as Paa Joe), a prominent practitioner of the craft. He has been in the trade for more than 50 years and recalls how he started out in his career.