Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

I spotted a rather creepy postcard in the mail last night. It was from a town in the Czech Republic and the picture was of a chandelier made of human bones. The picture is from the ossuary at Sedlec, a suburb of the Czech town of Kutna Hora. The entire interior of the church is decorated with the bones of tens of thousands of people (I read 30,000 in one place and 40,000 in another). Rather morbid. It does fit with the medieval mindset, which emphasized how transitory life was and how death and decay awaited all, meaning that they should focus their attention on the afterlife rather than worldly pursuits.

(Update: After a little more research, I found that the church wasn't decorated with the bones until 1870! The artist was a Czech woodcarver named Frantisek Rint. It is actually kind of disappointing, since it would be a better story if it had happened in the Dark Ages. Alas, sometimes the truth isn't quite so entertaining.)

Here is a site which has a gallery with pictures from the ossuary: Frisco's Kutna Hora - Sedlec Ossuary Page