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The Empire Of Death by Dr. Paul Koudounaris


It is sometimes said that death is the last taboo, but it was not always so. For centuries, religious establishments constructed decorated ossuaries + charnel houses that stand as masterpieces of art created from human bone. These unique structures have been pushed into the footnotes of history; they were part of a dialogue with death that is now silent. The sites in this specially photographed + brilliantly original study range from the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Palermo, where the living would visit mummified or skeletal remains + lovingly dress them; to the Paris catacombs; to fantastic bone-encrusted creations in Austria, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, + elsewhere. Paul Koudounaris photographed more than seventy sites for this book. He analyzes the role of these remarkable memorials within the cultures that created them, as well as the mythology + folklore that developed around them, + skillfully traces a remarkable human endeavor. Hardcover. 224 pages. 290 photographs, 260 in color. 12 x 9 inches.

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