‘Jewel Encrusted Skeleton ‘Saints’ Make Headlines Around the World’

Paul Koudounaris, who’s also called by his nickname ‘Indiana Bones’ in known as an writer, photographer and foremost professional on bone-decorated sites and ossuarys. Earlier in 2013, Koudounaris released a book featuring hd images of the 400-year-old ‘catacomb saints’ of Rome, a group of corpses that was thoroughly ornamented with gems and finery ahead of being presented as the remnants of saints to congregations around Europe.

Through the Protestant Overhaul of the 16th Century, Catholic churches were routinely stripped of their relics, symbols and finery. In order to counter this, The Vatican had antique skeletons removed from the Catacombs of Rome and copiously decorated as a remains of acknowledged saints.

Though typically forgotten until Koudounaris released his book, the catacomb saints continue to fascinate interested parties; they may still encourage religious zeal. In 1977, the town of Ruttenbach in Bavaria worked hard to raise enough funds to buy back two of their original saints from secretive collectors, the ornamental skeletons had initially been auctioned off in 1803.

The book, that Koudounaris has cautiously titled ‘Heavenly Bodies’ sees its writer try to find and photograph each of these present crypt saints.

In his glory days (a age that lasted over 200 years before finally coming to a close in the 19th century), the here traversed all over the place, being transported at enormous expense by the Church. They were recognized as objects of care, or conduits for prayer.

Though the saints could appear odd to modern eyes (one Telegraph reporter described them as ‘ghastly’), it is crucial that you remember that those that prayed at the feet of those gilded cadavers were a lot nearer to demise than their modern counterparts. Within the wake of The Black Death (which recurred frequently all through Europe from the 14th to the 17th Centuries), art, literature and even worship had come to embrace such ghoulish, macabre metaphors.

The remnants were typically decorated by nuns and often placed in a choice of lifelike poses, before being secured in glass cabinets. Some of the meticulous decoration took as long as five years to finish, with jewellery and costumes being particularly impressive.

Koudounaris’ book, ‘Heavenly Bodies’ is out there now.

the origin of the piece is here

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