Writing Prompt Wednesday: Sedlec Ossuary

Since I feel like doing something a bit (okay, very) different this week, I decided to provide a series of eye-popping photos to jump-start your creativity instead of the typical text-based writing prompt fare. In keeping with this month’s theme, the following photos are from Sedlec Ossuary, located in the lower levels of the medieval-era Chapel of All Saints in Czechia (also known as the Czech Republic).

All Saints Chapel
Chapel of All Saints, Exterior. By user “Zp,” via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons licence CC BY-SA 3.0

The site had been used as a burial ground for hundreds of years before František Rint was commissioned by the prominent Schwarzenberg family in the 1700s to place the bones in the Ossuary in some semblance of order. His solution for organizing the thousands upon thousands of bones and skeletons that had been laid to rest in the lower levels of the chapel?

Arrange them artistically, of course! The result of Rint’s work can be seen in the photographs below, including the incredible chandelier and the Coat of Arms of the House of Schwarzenberg. I’ve always wanted to see this place for myself, because the use of something many people consider sinister or taboo to provide a peculiar beauty to a sacred space is very inspiring to me.

While some people find such displays morbid and disrespectful to the dead, I think there’s an air of reverence to it, bringing to mind the passage from the Book of Genesis, “…for dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” a stark reminder that our lifetime is as valuable as it is limited.

Sedlec_Ossuary_Entrance_scale
Ossuary Entrance, with cross made of bones. Tyler Nofziger, via Wikipedia. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY 3.0
Kostnice03_scale
Coat of Arms of the House of Schwartzenberg. Originally posted to Flickr by user “word_virus.” Acquired for this post via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY 2.0
Sedlec-Ossuary_scale
Chandelier made of bones. By user “Chmouel,” via Wikimedia Commons. Used under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 3.0

’til next time, remember to Write a Full Circle every day.

K R Parkinson Monogram
– K R Parkinson
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