Title: The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of
Ossuaries and Charnel Houses
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
During four years Paul Koudounaris scored three continents in an
attempt to document the world’s finest surviving ossuaries, and in the
process recover the history of a long-forgotten genre of Early Modern
visual culture: the decoration of religious shrines in human bone.
Some of the sites studied are major tourist destinations and famous to
this day, but many others are unheard of—located often in remote rural
areas, and in some cases found by diligent research, in others by sheer
accident. Among them were some which had never before been
photographed. Other sites, no longer extant, were discovered in
searches through archival material, but even these were sometimes
reborn through the discovery of old prints or early photos.
The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of
Ossuaries and Charnel Houses is also available in French as L'Empire
de la Mort - Histoire culturelle des ossuaires et des charniers.
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