The Danse Macabre consists of the dead or personified Death summoning representatives from all walks of life to dance along to the grave, typically with a pope, emperor, king, child, and labourer. They were produced to remind people of the fragility of their lives and how vain were the glories of earthly life
'Heidelberger Totentanz', was the first book in which the dance of death was portrayed. The author is unknown but it was printed by Heinrich Knoblochtzer in 1488 and contains a core series of 38 woodcuts in which the satricial emblem of death visits upon all manner of citizens. In most, the skeleton carries a musical instrument as a type of Pied Piper motif. The text, in a high German dialect, is addressed by death to its target.