The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses

The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses


By (author) Paul Koudounaris

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  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 231mm x 310mm x 28mm | 1,520g
  • Publication date: 12 December 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0500251789
  • ISBN 13: 9780500251782
  • Illustrations note: 421 illustrations, 290 in colour
  • Sales rank: 35,096

Product description

In this tour de force of original cultural history, Paul Koudounaris takes the reader on an unprecedented international tour of macabre and devotional architectural masterpieces in nearly 20 countries. This is the first book to bring together the world's most important charnel sites, ranging from the crypts of the Capuchin monasteries in Italy and the skull-encrusted columns of the ossuary in Evora in Portugal, to the strange tomb of a 1960s wealthy Peruvian nobleman decorated with the exhumed skeletons of his Spanish ancestors. Illustrated with specially taken photographs of sites rarely open to the public and forgotten archive images of others long destroyed, this mesmerising, shocking and deeply moving book is an essential memento mori for our modern age.

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Review quote

The photos of the skulls alone justify the purchase. "