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Title: The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses
Authors: Paul Koudounaris
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Year: 2011
ISBN: 9790500251781
Language: English

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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