Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Death Takes A Holiday," Osteo-Architecture Travel Blog











The Portuguese have a morbid fascination with bone chapels (perhaps we can coin the term “osteo-architecture”), there are probably more here per capita than anywhere in the world...
Thanks to Friend-of-Morbid-Anatomy Paul Rumsey for drawing my attention to the astounding photo collection and travel reportage of self-named "LuDwigg VaNn beethoVeen​" as showcased on his MySpace Blog entitled "Death Takes a Holiday" and committed--or so it seems--to visiting and documenting the finest necropoli, “osteo-architecture," and concentrations of mummies and religious waxworks in the entire world, including sites in Ecuador, Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Newark, New Jersey.

The above sampling of images is just a tiny fraction of the many incredible images to be found on the blog. Please click on each one to see much larger and more detailed versions. To see many more astounding images and to find out more about these spectacular sites, visit his "Death Takes a Holiday" blog by clicking here. Thanks so much, Paul, for sending this amazing treasure trove along!

12 comments:

° Mirloniger ° said...

Maybe someone also interested the following links. The first is on a short film by Czech artist Jan Svankmajer http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5464393920769221032# . The second is about this wonderful place: http://www.kostnice.cz/czech.htm

Jana Miller said...

Wow what a fantastic find indeed1 I was sure to add Paul over at Myspace. Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

Yep, great site. Loved the commentary as well.

Oriente Antigo said...

If any of you, either the guy who took the pics or yourself at Morbid Anatomy need further enlightment on why we have so many bone chapels, just in case you never heard of similar places in other Catholic countries, I will be happy to give you an anthropological explanation, free of religious issues...

Bruno Amaral said...

I feel there's a need to clarify that the Portuguese do not really have a fascination with bone chapels.

The fact is, a single bone chapel was indeed built in Évora as a way to make people ponder that life is transitory.

The wikipedia entry for the chapel seems to have reliable information on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capela_dos_Ossos

JE said...

Hi Oriente

I know a few more bone chapels, but would love to read your anthropological explanation. You can post it here, or email it to me at morbidanatomy@gmail.com. Bruno, I am sorry if the blogger got it wrong about Portugal. Thanks for pointing out the error. And ° Mirloniger °, thanks for the links!

Best,
Joanna (Morbid Anatomy)

Oriente Antigo said...

Well, to start with, as an Egyptologist with special interest and work on medicine I can say that 'fascination' on dead bodies, either mummified or skeletized is known to exist worldwide. Polemics about displaying dead naked bodies in museums started to spread across the UK and other countries two or three years ago, some mummies were covered and then uncovered after public research. Anthropologically speaking, again as an Egyptologist, but also as someone who has studied many human bones also from Roman times, I can say that people in general have a special interest about their own body, what it looks like when life expires. Religious issues influence anthropological ones, as anyone might guess; and Catholic countries have 'relics' which are pieces of bones from people they considered holy. They are suposed to bring good fortune and/or protection. Even blood seems to have particular importance if it came from a dead holy person. There are such 'relics' as well in Portugal which make people from as far as New Zealand come on pilgrimage to see them. Dead humans fascinate living humans. maybe because most of the public do not know how the body articulates or looks like before they see a bone or a complete skeleton. Much more interesting are mummies as they seem 'more human' than skeletons. Magic was a part of religion in ancient societies so there is no surprise as cults use human bones as instruments for magical purposes. Many civilizations today still pay tribute to their ancestors and some tribes in Papua, New Guinea even take care of the mummification/hanging/displaying of their relatives' bodies after death. it is a worldwide phenomenon that humans are curious about themselves and to what happens to the body after death. Some religions are more prone into showing, that's all. Portugal is a Catholic country and, as such, has many chapels along the county, even in small people aglomerates. The displaying of human bones is both a safe haven for those that departed and a protection house for those living in the neighbourhood. It is not morbid fascination, it is conscient and embedded in the society, maybe not endorsed by contemporary generations as much as by elderly people. But life is a cycle and in this age of Aquarius these concerns are surfacing again. Maybe in a hundred years time readers of the blog will thing the comment made by the guy who took the pictures is silly...let's wait and see...

JE said...

Thanks so much for this, Oriente. Would you mind if I made this a blog post as a quote from you? I think my readers would appreciate what you have to say. If so, to whom shall I credit it (what is your real name) and would you like a link for your name? You can email me at morbidanatomy@gmail.com.

Thanks!

gaming masters program said...

Many civilizations today still pay tribute to their ancestors and some tribes in Papua, New Guinea even take care of themummification/hanging/displaying of their relatives' bodies after death. it is a worldwide phenomenon that humans are curious about themselves and to what happens to the body after death. Some religions are more prone into showing, that's all

Mina Anguelova said...

check out the chapel of bones in Evora (Portugal:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/Capela_dos_ossos_entrada.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7d/Capela_dos_ossos_esqueletos.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9a/Capela_dos_ossos.jpg

Roma said...

I know "Ludwig"-- he is a colleague of mine and we both study ossuaries around the world- he is planning on publishing a book on the subject within the next year (and we may collaborate in the future. His name is Paul Koudonaris.

I am doing a Master's in religious studies, focusing on many of these sites. Not much has been written on these various sites in the English language, but I have written a short article on the phenomenon.
Paul K. definitely takes amazing photos. Mine aren't as neat as his, but you can see my travel blog here:
http://madame-bone.livejournal.com/

Anonymous said...

The photos can still be found here.

http://www.immortalitymedicine.tv/death-takes-a-holiday-osteo-architecture-travel-blog/