Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us (Paperback)

Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us By Paul Koudounaris Cover Image

Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us (Paperback)


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The astonishing story of how the dead live on via memorials across the globe, from Ethiopia and Nepal to Cambodia and Rwanda, told through arresting images and captivating narration.

A macabre, spectacular, and thought-provoking survey of death in life, this book collects the many ways human remains are used in decorative, commemorative, and devotional contexts around the world today.

This compact edition of Memento Mori takes the reader on a ghoulish but beautiful tour of some of the world’s more unusual sacred sites and traditions, in which human remains are displayed for the benefit of the living. From burial caves in Indonesia festooned with bones to skulls smoking cigarettes, wearing beanie hats and sunglasses, and decorated with garlands of flowers in South America, author Paul Koudounaris ventures beyond the grave to find messages of hope and salvation. His glorious color photographs and insightful commentaries reveal that in many places, the realms of the living and the dead are nowhere near so distinct as contemporary Western society would have us believe.

Paul Koudounaris has a PhD in art history from the University of California and has written widely on European ossuaries and charnel houses for both academic and popular journals. He is the author of The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses, Memento Mori: The Dead Among Us, and Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs. Paul is a member of the Order of the Good Death and has over 110k followers on Instagram.

Product Details ISBN: 9780500252611
ISBN-10: 0500252610
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication Date: June 21st, 2022
Pages: 216
Language: English
Memento Mori is led by the visuals: spellbinding images of decorated skulls, elaborate burials, and other death-related customs from around the world.


Skull after painted or bejeweled skull
relays a story that’s as much about life as
it is about death. . . . There’s something
intangible here—how ‘memento mori,’
literally meaning ‘remember that you will
die,’ isn’t always a looming threat, and
tangible human remains can evoke love
and respect for life
— Hyperallergic