Posts tagged skeletons
Posts tagged skeletons
dead people sure know how to boogie
Death - Ethics of showing human remains in museums
A really interesting audio link from the Wellcome Collection. This is a clip of Hedley Swain, who…
Say cheese and cry
Natural Selection by Noah Scalin
Scalin on his project:
The Natural Selection portrait series specifically explores the lives of great scientists whose work has had an incredible impact on the world. Each diptych is made up of the portrait of a deceased scientist and a representation of his/her skull. The skull is made by literally rearranging the elements used in the portrait, thus destroying that original creation in the spirit of the traditional sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism. The scientists represented are all great thinkers whose creations had an impact on our lives today, but also serious repercussions for their own lives (and deaths).
Back in 1578 came the fascinating discovery of a network of labyrinthine tombs, lurking deep beneath the street of Rome. The tombs were home to the decayed skeletons of early Christian martyrs – believed to be saints on account of their bravery & unwavering support of Christian beliefs.
Many of these skeletons (given the name ‘The Catacomb Saints’ by those who first discovered them) were then distributed across Europe (predominantly Germany) as replacements for the countless holy relics which had been smashed, stolen or destroyed during the Protestant Reformation.
Once delivered, each skeleton was then clothed and adorned into a variety of precious jewels, expensive cloth, crowns, armour and even given wigs. They were put on display inside their designated churches as a reminder to all who visited, for the riches and wealth that awaited them post death – providing they swore allegiance to the Christian faith.
It sounds like a tale straight from a Dan Brown novel doesn’t it? Yet it’s all factually accurate.
So fascinated by the discovery and indeed the story behind ‘The Catacomb Saints’ art historian (and self-confessed relic hunter) Paul Koudounaris travelled all over Europe trying to find and document the status of each Saint. Amazingly many of the skeletons were yet to be put on display, still stored in containers waiting to be dressed and revealed to the public.
His book Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs looks at the gripping origins and history of ‘The Catacomb Saints’, posing such as questions as who were they? How exactly did they die? Who ordered them to be placed in the catacombs? And why had they laid forgotten in Europe’s religious institutions for so long?
His work serves as a compelling documentation of some of the most elaborate & forgotten relics from a by-gone era. Below are a few photographs from the book itself, which you can purchase right here
Via Caveman Circus
“La Diablesse" at the underwater sculpture park in Molinere Bay off the west coast of Grenada. These sculptures are not housed in an art gallery but are on the actual sea bed. These sculptures help the coral reefs, acting like a nursery for its renewed growth and development. La Diablesse is a sinister figure from Grenadian folklore
Top photo can be found here and bottom photo credit: Jason De Caires Taylor
Mystery Solved – The Skeleton Lake of India
In 1942 a British patrol in Roopkund, India made a shocking discovery. Approximately 17,000 feet above sea level, at the bottom of a small valley, was a frozen lake full of human skeletons. That summer, the ice melted to reveal even more skeletal remains, floating in the water and lying haphazardly around the lake’s edges. Had something horrible had happened here?
Scientists now believe they have finally solved the mystery of how and why the skeletons of over 200 people were found in a frozen lake in northern India.
Lake Roopkund is located in northern India along the border of Nepal at 4,800 meters (~16,000 ft) above sea level with edges covered in snow for most of the year. The water is rather shallow, only reaching a maximum depth of 2 meters, and frozen most of the year. The frozen climate at this altitude has aided significantly in the preservation of hair, soft tissue, and leather clothing, prompting the everyone to believe these were recent deaths. These skeletons were initially thought to be the bodies of Japanese soldiers who had died of exposure while travelling through India as part of a World War II invasion. More recent analyses conclude the remains were much older than anyone expected, dating them to approximately 850AD.