Switzerland Jewelled Skeletons

The jewelled catacomb saint skeletons have a fascinating history. To begin with, such adorned bodies were originally found in catacombs below Rome in 1578 but they are now found in churches around Germany, Austria and Switzerland too. They were believed to be the skeletons of martyr saints and therefore, nuns and the devout spent hours carefully decorating the bones with intricate detail, creating beautiful examples of artistry using jewels by the hundred. However, the church eventually became ashamed by the amount of money the skeletons represented so they were hidden away and it is only recently that they have been uncovered for viewing again. For me, photographing the skeletons was very exciting; each one was very different and often they were hidden under altars or behind curtains so the public normally wouldn’t be able to see them. When each was revealed, there was a moment of witnessing something special and time was taken to look at the magnificent details of each one.

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