by Joanna Ebenstein, Morbid Anatomy Founder and Creative Director
Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic, one of the most epic bone chapels in the world, has served as a muse for many. It was part of the inspiration for what ultimately became the Morbid Anatomy project, after visiting with my good friend Catherine Crawford in 1994. It also, famously, inspired this wonderful short film by Jan Švankmajer.
More recently, Sedlec Ossuary has inspired our friends at Mechanical Whispers, creators of charnel house themed jewelry, to produce a new, image heavy book that not only features gorgeous photography, but also "drawings, renderings, stories, and historical information presented in a unique, creative way... [celebrating] the 150th Anniversary of the Sedlec Ossuary..."
You can find out more about this laudable project in the guest post below; you can support it by clicking here.
The Sedlec Ossuary is one of the most famous ossuaries in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage site was decorated with the bones of over 40,000 humans in1870 by František Rint, a woodcarver by trade. Rint bleached and re-purposed the human remains buried in the chapel basement, for his own sculptures that decorate the ossuary. And then in the style of a true artist, he signed his name and home town, written in bones, on the ossuary wall. Most of his original work at Sedlec is what we see and recognize today.
This stunning artistic display from 150 years ago, is not replicated in any ossuary or catacomb in the world. Notable features include large chalices made of human bones that stand over 5 feet tall, and a centerpiece chandelier, over 8 feet in diameter, containing every bone in the human body.
The Sedlec Ossuary is also currently undergoing extensive, delicate renovations to help preserve it for future generations to enjoy.
Two years ago, in June of 2017, we visited the Sedlec Ossuary with camera equipment in hand, and passion in our hearts. We obtained photography permits, and spent countless hours photographing this stunning ossuary from top to bottom, resulting in thousands of professionally shot, high quality photos. Since then, we have been in talks with the Sedlec Ossuary Director, and the Sedlec Roman Catholic Parish of Kutná Hora, about ways we could use our photography to help promote, educate, and preserve this historical location. We feel that we have the unique opportunity to create our own book about Sedlec, using our photography, historical findings, and inspiring stories.
This book will be unlike any other publication currently in existence. It will not only be a conversational coffee table book of beautiful photography, but also contain drawings, renderings, stories, and historical information presented in a unique, creative way, which also celebrates the 150th Anniversary of the Sedlec Ossuary, recreating a portrait of the ossuary from the past, present, and future. We plan to honor this incredible milestone, with a golden embossed, leather-bound book, of highest quality.
We will be launching our Kickstarter for the book project on October 1st, and we hope all of you can celebrate with us! This will mark the creation of a very important historical record, so we encourage all of our passionate fans to help spread the word through your online presence, family, and friends, so that its crowdfunding can be more successful. We welcome you to follow us along on our journey!
☩💀 The Sedlec Ossuary Project (Robert and Nadia) 💀☩ sedlecossuary.mechanicalwhispers.com