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

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

Paul Koudounaris

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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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