Empire of Death : Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses
written by Paul Koudounaris
Thames and Hudson | ISBN 9780500251782
Hardback – 224 pages
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Visitors to the Paris catacombs were once greeted with a sign telling them that they were entering THE EMPIRE OF DEATH.
Beginning in the early modern period and continuing to the 19th century, elaborately decorated charnels, tombs and chapels were constructed with the focus on human bone.
This riveting book takes the reader on a tour of these macabre masterpieces with specially taken, arresting photographs and a commentary researched from a multitude of sources. It's a momento mori for our age.
Paul Koudounaris has a doctorate in Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, and has written widely on European ossuaries and charnel houses for both academic and popular journals. He visited and photographed over seventy sites containing human bones in nearly twenty countries in the course of writing this book.