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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death made beautiful
This is a hugely informative and visually stunning book. It is next to impossible to read the text without getting repeatedly distracted by the beautiful photographs, which illustrate stronger than any words could, the reverence and religious devotion inherent in the creation of these skeletal masterpieces. Having studied English and European ossuaries and post-burial...
Published 10 months ago by Jennifer

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
I was intrigued by this book as one can commonly find these decorated corpses in Mediterranean Catholic Churches . So was dissappointed that I couldn't find any references to them. The author limited himself mainly to Germanic regions. Also he tried to put an air of mistique where I found none. The coloured pictures are good but not of a high quality. The author states...
Published 9 months ago by Alexander Vassallo


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death made beautiful, 2 Sep 2013
This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
This is a hugely informative and visually stunning book. It is next to impossible to read the text without getting repeatedly distracted by the beautiful photographs, which illustrate stronger than any words could, the reverence and religious devotion inherent in the creation of these skeletal masterpieces. Having studied English and European ossuaries and post-burial religious practises for a number of years, this is one of the few texts available that exemplifies the true meaning behind the Christian curation of human bones. The detailed narrative explains in precise detail the origin of the cult in question, and the motivations for the skeletons' current manner of display, while the reasons for their destruction and cessation of the cult are equally and fairly dealt with. Although this book concentrates on one example of Christian relic and ossuary creation, it also serves as an exemplar for understanding the concept of this fascinating rite as a whole. Instead of merely recording and expressing these practises as `macabre,' which is perhaps the initial impression gained by an observer unfamiliar with such sites and collections, the author has accurately established the deeply religious connotations of ossuary creation and human skeletal material curation, via both text and images.
Equally as captivating and revealing as his first book - I look forward to the next.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Macabre but fascinating!, 31 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
What an intriguing book, fascinating history but the decorative artwork is quite spectacular, if somewhat ghoulish. Good photographs but would have liked more close up shots of the embroidered clothing. A very unique book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching Overview of an Almost-Extinct Practice, 18 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
Having read 'Empire of Death', and thoroughly enjoyed it (despite the tiny print), I was excited to see this book available.

It doesn't take long to read, but the pictures are stunning and the story accompanying these beautiful aids to faith and prayer is touching, sensitive, and (towards the end) quite sad.

I am not religious at all, but the time and attention given to these Holy Bodies moved me. Whether or not they are genuine relics, or a quickly blessed jumble of bones is irrelevant - the vigour they brought back to a damaged institution should not be forgotten. Nor should they, and I hope that this book helps their cause in a world that is scared of death.

I'll be making a journey to Waldsassen based on this book. I can not wait for his next one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing & Beautiful, 8 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
This book is the most beautiful and fascinating work I have seen and read in the last decade. The most extraordinary imagery enchanted & haunting. An incredible and important piece of research, documentation and photography. Every Art & Humanities College in the country, if not world, should purchase this publication.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful., 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
I love this book. The illustrations are wonderful and the whole book is special and certainly not morbid. Very special indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Relics constructed from the remains of unknown Romans, 8 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
An exquisite book that illustrates the veneration and decoration of earthly remains to extraordinarily beautiful lengths in southern Germany in the 17th century. It is both Baroque and Gothic (in the modern sense).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 8 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
Great book with great photos. Very detailed and the text is informative and interesting, A must buy if you like history
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5.0 out of 5 stars great present, 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
bought for my husband who loved it. The photos are amazing and beautiful and I would recommend this book for anyone who has an interest .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great images and a good buy, 25 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
Wonderful photography and clearly written. I have a masters in art history and know a fair bit about relics and saints - this didn't disappoint. Though not written for the academic it is an enjoyable and informative read and well worth purchasing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 5 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures & Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Hardcover)
The photography in this book is stunning and is what makes it for me. It is also very informative. A few people seen it and were judging me for to quote "having a book of dead guys", till themselves had a look and seen that it is so much more. This book shows how some have celebrated death in a very elaborate way. Amazing!
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