Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us
Paul Koudounaris

Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us


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Memento Mori takes the reader on a ghoulish but beautiful tour of some of the world’s more unusual sacred sites and traditions, in which human remains are displayed for the benefit of the living. From burial caves in Indonesia festooned with bones, to skulls smoking cigarettes, wearing beanie hats and sunglasses, and decorated with garlands of flowers in South America, Paul Koudounaris ventures beyond the grave to find messages of hope and salvation. His glorious colour photographs and informed commentaries reveal that in many places, the realms of the living and the dead are nowhere near so distinct as contemporary Western society would have us believe.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Memento Mori • The Dead Will Rise: Macabre Masterpieces of the Nineteenth Century • The Gates of Paradise: Bones and Salvation in the Christian Tradition • They Walk Among Us: Mysterious Burial Caves in Asia • Blessed Souls: Elaborate Ossuaries in the Catholic World • They Shall Not Perish: Memorials in Bone to Victims of Tragedy • Remains to be Seen: Mummies and other Exquisite Corpses • Crossing the Border: The Living and the Dead in Bolivia • Heavenly Glory: Decorated Bones from Around the World

This is an engrossing, albeit unsettling, read. --Royal Photographic Society Journal

A visually disturbing study of human remains as used around the world in decorative, commemorative, or devotional rites, guaranteed to make your hair stand on end. --Birmingham Post

In the midst of life, you need a good book about death. This is it. --Fortean Times

Paul Koudounaris received his doctorate from the art history department at UCLA. His previous books include The Empire of Death and Heavenly Bodies. He lives in Los Angeles.

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