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5 Strange Saunas


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Skull Sauna
A woman peeks inside Joep van Lieshout's "Wellness Skull" at the Karlsplatz in Vienna, during its 2008 exhibition there.
A woman peeks inside Joep van Lieshout's "Wellness Skull" at the Karlsplatz in Vienna, during its 2008 exhibition there.
AP Photo/ AP Photo/Lilli Strauss

Who doesn't love a good skull motif? The design shows up in belt buckles, T-shirts, vodka bottles and outrageous Burning Man art cars. And now, thanks to Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout, you can rest assured that somewhere out there in the world, there's a giant skull with a sauna inside it.

Van Lieshout constructed his 15-foot (4.6-meter) "Wellness Skull" entirely from wood and synthetic materials. As with most pieces of art, the average visitor is prohibited from climbing inside it naked, but when the artist actually heats up the sauna, steam pours out of the skull's eye sockets. The death's head also boasts a bathtub and a shower.

As for the meaning of the piece, the artist insists that his design aims to invite varying interpretations. Still, you can't fill the universal icon of death with healthy, cleansing spa amenities without stirring up the interconnectedness of health, birth and purity with disease, death and sin.

How long until Nordic death metal bands can sweat it out in their own skull saunas? Only time will tell.


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