St. Pancratius of Wil, death knight

St. Pancratius of Wil, death knight.  Click to embiggen!

St. Pancratius of Wil. Click to embiggen!

I just picked up a copy of Heavenly Bodies: cult treasures & spectacular saints from the catacombs.  It’s a book with tons of photos of bejeweled and bedazzled relics from across Europe.  Some are reclining or posed like St. Pancratius above (& he’s pretty conservative, just being in fancy armor); others are just lying in jumbled ruins but heaped with gems and gold.   A lot of them have rather disturbing facial features added to the skulls in wax, as well as life-like glass eyes, and others are veiled in gauze, giving them a doll-like aspect.

This St. Pancratius was, apparently, originally buried in Roman legionary armor, but when his relics were translated (moved from a tomb or crypt to a shrine or altar), he was decked out in the latest parade armor.  I couldn’t easily find any more on him — there are two other early martyrs but neither is in Switzerland, as this one is.  More on the book here ; even more photos here.

Published in: on April 24, 2014 at 9:47 pm  Comments (3)  
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The petrifying lake

Calcified animals - A picture of a flamingo "calcified" by Tanzania's Lake Natron

Just saw this and had to share!*  Lake Natron.  As you may know, the Egyptians used natron in mummification because it absorbs moisture and raises alkinity.


*Who cares if the linked story is a little misleading?   A petrifying lake is an awesome concept.

Published in: on October 5, 2013 at 8:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Wunderkammer Monday: Atlas Obscura

I think Scorpio Diamante turned my on to the Proceedings of the Athanasus Kirchner Society, but that blog is long gone.  Recently Atlas Obscura emerged from its ashes, which has trimmed its focus to just weird and wonderful places. (The Society covered people, places, events, books, everything).

Atlas Obscura has some maps and historical notes as well, but if you are planning a vacation, this may be the place to check for local oddities.  Below: The great Guatemalan sink hole.

And, is this not the Black Gate?

Aramu Muru, Peru, an incomplete Incan ruin.

Published in: on June 21, 2010 at 1:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wunderkammer Monday: Bibliodyssey

A Wunderkammer is a cabinet of curiosities.  The Proceedings of the Athanasius Kirchner Society, a blog that disappeared a few years ago, covered such things… the strange, the odd, the strangely beautiful.  On some Mondays I’ll share Wunderkammers I stumble upon in my work and recreation.  The first I found through the American Library Association’s newsletter: Biblioddysey.

Bibliodyssey, a rare book and book arts blog, is a treasure trove for anyone looking for old illustrations, maps, and so on, either for use or inspiration.

Here are some images I’ve swiped lately:

A Croation star-fort.

Death as a fencer.

Mardi Gras costume deisgns.

Japanese Edo era monsters.

Sir Fishrider.

A Hindu illumination.

We’ve all seen Mandrakes. Here’s a typical Goblindrake.

Biblioddysey always links to the originals, which is awesome, and does a great job tagging and indexing too, so click on the tags for “monsters,” “combat,” etc. will lead to a long list of great posts.

Published in: on June 14, 2010 at 8:07 am  Comments (2)  
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