In a number of crypts, catacombs, chapels, and memorials around the world, human skeletons are arranged for public view. Some of these compositions are designed for remembrance of loss and atrocities past; others are composed artistically to inspire worshipers and bring to mind thoughts of an afterlife and the temporary nature of this life. Gathered here are a few images of these ossuaries, from Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Skulls and bones in an ossuary with the remains of more than 50,000 people on October 19, 2012 under the Church of St. James in Brno, Czech Republic. Lost for some 200 years, the ossuary was discovered in 2001 during construction work under the Church of St James. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors enter the Sedlec Ossuary, a small Chapel beneath the Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutna Hora, Czech Republic, about 75 km east of Prague, on January 14, 2007. Although the ossuary dates back to the 14th century, its current decoration is made of some 40,000 human remains from the 18th century. (Michal Cizek/AFP/Getty Images)
Skulls and bones inside a shrine of the Santa Maria's church at the small village of Wamba, near Valladolid, Spain, on April 5, 2009. According to investigators, somewhere between the 15th and 17th centuries, the need for room in the surrounding cemetery prompted the opening of the oldest tombs and placing the bones in the ossuary. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Skulls and bones, stacked in the Catacombs beneath Paris, France, on October 14, 2014. The Paris Catacombs recently opened to night-time tours, in addition to existing daytime trips. The subterranean tunnels, stretching 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), cradle the bones of some 6 million Parisians from centuries past and once gave refuge to smugglers. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Victims' skulls are displayed on glass shelves inside one of the crypts at the Nyamata Catholic Church genocide memorial ahead of the 20th anniversary of the country's genocide April 4, 2014 in Nyamata, Rwanda. The memorial crypt contains the remains of over 45,000 genocide victims, the majority of them Tutsi, including those who were massacred inside the church itself. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Interior of St. Bartholomew's Church, or the Skull Chapel, in Czermna, Poland. The bones came largely from thousands who died from wars and epidemics in the 17th and 18th centuries.
(CC-BY 3.0/Wikipedia contributor Merlin)