Paul Koudounaris ventures beyond the grave in this spectacular and thought-provoking survey of human remains used in decorative, commemorative or devotional contexts across the world today.
From Bolivia’s ‘festival of the little pug-nosed ones’, where skulls are festooned with flowers and given cigarettes, to Indonesian families who dress mummies and include them in their household routine, via naturally preserved Buddhist monks and memorials to recent genocides, this dramatic book defies taboo to demonstrate how the dead live on across the globe.
The book’s inventive visual presentation by top design studio Barnbrook rejects gloomy clichés in favour of bright colours, delicate frames and eloquent motifs that echo some of the folk traditions featured in these pages.
Koudounaris is a gifted narrator, vividly recounting the stories and traditions that lie behind his ghoulish but beautiful photographs, which reveal that in many places, the realms of the living and the dead are nowhere near so distinct as Western society would have us believe.
'In the midst of life, you need a good book about death. This is it'
'This is an engrossing, albeit unsettling, read'
Royal Photographic Society Journal
'A visually disturbing study of human remains as used around the world in decorative, commemorative, or devotional rites, guaranteed to make your hair stand on end'