The Most Beautiful Dead: Photographs of Europe’s Jeweled Skeletons
2013-09-16 0:00

By Allison Meier | Atlas Obscura

The afterlife is just more elegant for some of us. In a state of repose in churches around Germany, Switzerland, and Austria are these jeweled skeletons ornately decked out for their eternal rest. Yet despite their fascinating garb, they have been almost forgotten.

A new book coming out this October by LA-based photographer and author Paul Koudounaris — called Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs, published by Thames & Hudson — brings these beautiful corpses out of obscurity. Back in 2011, Koudounaris published a book on ossuaries called The Empire of Death, and here he takes a step further into the religious veneration of sacred remains.

The jeweled skeletons were originally found in catacombs beneath Rome in 1578, and distributed as replacements under the belief they were Christian martyrs to churches that had lost their saint relics in the Reformation. However, for most, their identities were not known. The receiving churches then spent years covering the revered skeletal strangers with jewels and golden clothing, even filling their eye sockets and sometimes adorning their teeth with finery. Yet when the Enlightenment came around they became a little embarrassing for the sheer amount of money and excess they represented, and many were hidden away or disappeared. Koudounaris tracked down the dead survivors.

[...]





Read the full article at: atlasobscura.com



READ: Bizarre Catacombs, Death Cult? Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Italy




Related Articles
Riches found in ancient Mayan tomb in Guatemala
The secret tomb of China’s 1st emperor: Will we ever see inside?
Roman jewellery found in ancient Japanese tomb
Crypts and Catacombs Photos
Eight million mummified animals unearthed at ancient catacomb in Egypt
More than 100 graves robbed in Benin for voodoo rituals
Vampire Skeletons Found in Bulgaria
The Good Death: Making Death Part of Your Life


Latest News from our Front Page

Facebook completes first drone flight above UK, Mark Zuckerberg confirms
2015-03-28 3:15
Solar powered drones which provide internet access to rural and remote areas have been trialled in UK for first time by Facebook. They “have a wingspan greater than a Boeing 737 but will weigh less than a car”, according to the social network's chief Mark Zuckerberg. The drones, developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta which Facebook bought last March, will beam down laser-guided ...
300 Young English Girls (and a few Boys) Groomed and Assaulted by Oxfordshire "Gangs," Report Finds
2015-03-28 2:04
Editor's note: This story is a few days old now but the echoes of Rotherham just keeps coming. A few weeks ago there was Halifax, now Britain proudly can add Oxfordshire to their line up of diversity success stories. Below is the story from the telegraph: Serious case review finds failings by police and social services as it identifies hundreds of victims A ...
British POW describes the horror of the bombing of Dresden
2015-03-28 0:33
Partial Transcript of Interview with Victor Gregg, WW2 British solder and POW: Interviewer: "Tell us how it was that you were in Dresden at that time." Victor Gregg: "It was evil....thousands of firebombs dropping all over the place, heat, fire, people screaming, people burning, people alight. After about half an hour it started developing into something that was really bad....It was ...
Rape of 285,000 German Women at the End of WWII Trigger Damage Control by Mainstream Media
2015-03-27 20:25
Is Exposing Allied War Crimes an honorable act? No, it’s slandering heroes according to Daily Mail A recent article from the Daily Mail that pretends to look at the post WWII crimes and rapes of the Allies against the German people is actually damage control. It’s really an attempt to divert away from the true horrors that was visited upon Germany ...
Minister of Migration attacked by asylum seeker with fire extinguisher
2015-03-27 2:12
Sweden’s Minister of Justice & Migration also known as Morgan “only 1%” Johansson, has been attacked with a fire extinguisher when he visited an asylum home for future Swedes. Regional newspaper, Kristiandstadsbladet reported that a man who had been living at the home for a couple of weeks grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed foam all over the minister who didn’t ...
More News »