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Death has never looked so beautiful. The fully articulated skeleton of a female saint, dressed in an intricate costume of silk brocade and gold lace, withered fingers glittering with colorful rubies, emeralds, and pearls-this is only one of the specially photographed relics featured in Heavenly Bodies.In 1578 news came of the discovery in Rome of a labyrinth of underground tombs, which were thought to hold the remains of thousands of early Christian martyrs. Skeletons of these supposed saints were subsequently sent to Catholic churches and religious houses in German-speaking Europe to replace holy relics that had been destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. The skeletons, known as "the catacomb saints," were carefully reassembled, richly dressed in fantastic costumes, wigs, crowns, jewels, and armor, and posed in elaborate displays inside churches and shrines as reminders to the faithful of the heavenly treasures that awaited them after death.Paul Koudounaris gained unprecedented access to religious institutions to reveal these fascinating historical artifacts. Hidden for over a century as Western attitudes toward both the worship of holy relics and death itself changed, some of these ornamented skeletons appear in publication here for the first time.
'It's utterly spectacular, hugely interesting and almost unbelievable' - All About History 'Bling from the edges of eternity' - Annie Lennox 'The grinning, bejewelled catacomb saints who stare our from the pages of Koudounaris challenge us to engage in deeper exercises, spiritual and intellectual; to recreate lost forms of devotional life; to understand how they inspired and deformed the study of the Christian past; and to imagine what it felt like to believe that the gauze-wrapped skeleton in your church was a time lord, whose sight and touch could help to save your soul' - The London Review of Books 'Suitable for goths, art historians and everyone in between ... Incredible relics' - Book Depository
ISBN: 9780500251959 ISBN-10: 0500251959 Audience:
Number Of Pages: 192 Published: 1st September 2013 Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd Country of Publication: GB Dimensions (cm): 24.8 x 17.9
Weight (kg): 0.84
Edition Number: 1