by Inigo del Castillo in New Photography on Saturday 2 November 2013

When you think of skeletons, the last thing that might come to mind would be ‘bling-bling’. But feast your eyes on this!
In the 1578, the remains of many Christian martyrs were discovered in underground tombs under Rome. They were excavated and transported to different Catholic churches, supposedly to replace holy relics that were destroyed during the Protestant Reformation. The skeletons were then outfitted with all the gold a corpse could ask for.

This display of wealth was a reminder of the treasures one could earn in the afterlife.

Enter photographer Paul Koudounaris; he specializes in taking photographs of mummies, skeletal reliquaries, and other aspects of the dead. He managed to gain access to the institutions that hold these relics and took their photographs for the first time in history. He compiled the photos in a book called Heavenly Bodies.

Via This is Colossal