You’re probably familiar with the Mexican Day of the Dead – Día de Muertos – the central theme of which was expanded upon in the recent Pixar film Coco. Others have carried the tradition of honoring the dead to extremes, as seen in this series of photographs.
Bejewelled skeletons of Christian martyrs were often found in the catacombs under Rome in the late 16th century. Sent to Catholic churches and religious houses in German-speaking Europe to replace relics destroyed in the wake of the Protestant Reformation, these skeletons were reassembled and richly adorned with precious jewels and costumes.
Venerating human remains is not to everyone’s tastes. Pouring wax over skulls and bones to form a kind of skin adds a ghoulish air. But death has never looked more beautiful.