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This version of the Schwarzenberg family crest is found at the Sedlec Ossuary
outside Prague.  The chandelier includes at least one of each of the bones of the
human body.
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Quiz #230 Results
The Sedlec Ossuary
The Sedlec Ossuary is a small Roman Catholic
chapel, located beneath the Cemetery Church of All
Saints in Sedlec, a suburb of Kutná Hora in the
Czech Republic. The ossuary contains approximately
40,000-70,000 human skeletons which have been
artistically arranged to form decorations and
furnishings for the chapel. Henry, the abbot of the
Cistercian monastery in Sedlec, was sent to the Holy
Land by King Otakar II of Bohemia in 1278. When
he returned, he brought with him a small amount of
earth he had removed from Golgotha and sprinkled it
over the abbey cemetery. The word of this pious act
soon spread and the cemetery in Sedlec became a
desirable burial site throughout Central Europe.
During the Black Death in the mid 14th century, and
after the Hussite Wars in the early 15th century,
many thousands of people were buried there and the
cemetery had to be greatly enlarged.
F. Rint's signature
in the Sedlec Ossuary
František Rint was a 19th
century Czech woodcarver and
carpenter. He was employed by
the House of Schwarzenberg to
organize the human bones interred
at the Sedlec Ossuary, a small
Christian chapel in Sedlec, in
1870. He used the bones at Sedlec
Ossuary to create elaborate,
macabre sculptures, including
four chandeliers and a copy of the
Schwarzenberg coat of arms.
According to the signature he left
at the Ossuary, Rint was from
Ceska Skalice, a small city on the
Czech-Polish border.

Detail of Swartzenberg coast of arms
showing a bird pecking out
the eye of a dead Turk

The chapel on the north side is dedicated to the patrons of
the renewed monastery, The Fourteen Intercessors. Only
these two chapels, plus the chapels on the chancel gallery
have survived from the conventual church's original
Baroque decoration. The high altar was disassembled and
sold after the dissolution of the monastery in 1784, as were
other furnishings.

From the mid-19th century the Sedlec church was
continuously repaired and extended. In the 1880s it received
a Neo-Gothic high altar of Our Lady flanked by Bohemia's
patrons, made after the design of Ludvík Lábler, which,
however, is disproportionate to the dimensions of the
church interior: it is overshadowed by large altars of St.
Bernard and St. Benedict, originally from the Church of SS.
Philip and James.
The Schwartzenberg family
coat of arms in the
Sedlec Ossuary in Prague.

Around 1400 a Gothic church was built in the center of the cemetery with a vaulted
upper level and a lower chapel to be used as an ossuary for the mass graves unearthed
during construction, or simply slated for abolition to make room for new burials. After
1511 the task of exhuming skeletons and stacking their bones in the chapel was,
according to legend, given to a half-blind monk of the order.

Between 1703 and 1710 a new entrance was constructed to support the front wall,
which was leaning outward, and the upper chapel was rebuilt. This work, in the Czech
Baroque style, was designed by Jan Santini Aichel.

In 1870, František Rint, a woodcarver, was employed by the Schwarzenberg family to
put the bone heaps into order. The macabre result of his effort speaks for itself. Four
enormous bell-shaped mounds occupy the corners of the chapel. An enormous
chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body,
hangs from the center of the nave with garlands of skulls draping the vaults. Other
works include piers and monstrances flanking the altar, a large Schwarzenberg coat-of-
arms, and the signature of Master Rint, also executed in bone, on the wall near the

The Chandelier in the
Sedlec Ossuary
includes every bone in
the human body.
The cathedral above the Sedlec Ossuary
was built between 1282/3 and 1320.
Unlike urban churches, this temple was
not meant to dazzle the congregation by
the splendour of colours and shapes, to
epitomize authority and wealth. It was an
unpretentious, functional building, erected
by the hands of the friars. It served for
contemplative prayer and meditation. It
worshipped by God by the purity and perfection of its form.

After the church was set on fire and pillaged in 1421 by the Hussites, all that remained
were its outer walls. Subsequently, from 1554, it received repeated provisional repairs.
A truly substantial renovation, however, was initiated only under Abbot Jindřich
Snopek, from 1700 - 1706.

All of the chuch's original furnishings perished in the 1421 fire.  From the Second half
of the 15th century, when the church was at least partly restored, a wooden statue of
Our Lady of Sedlec has survived at the rear of the transept side chapel. It must have
replaced an earlier sculpture as the church's principal cult statue. In the early 18th
century it underwent substantial re-carving, was enlarged and received new
polychrome paint, in consonance with the new concept of the church's Baroque
furnishings. It was then installed at the rear of the double chapel in the south section of
the transcept.  The chapel was dedicated to Our Lady of Sedlec.
The exterior of the cathedral.
Comments from Our Readers
BTW I can't figure out why there is a crown as part of the coat of arms.  The
Schwarzenberg family may have been minor royalty but do they really qualify for a
Milene Rawlinson

N. B.  Maybe not, but are you going to be the one to break the news to them?

The funny thing is even before the picture loaded I knew what it would be about from
the questions...having seen it in Ripley's Believe it or Not several times before.
Carl Blessing
N. B.  Well this is the week for ominous premonitions, isn't it?

(This is SO gross - good job!)                                                        
Debbie Johnson

N. B.  Thanks for the compliment...I think....

ACTION - Google "coat of arms" bones.
RESULTS - Flickr: Schwarzenberg coat of arms, rendered in human bones
                                                                                         Tamura Jones
And I thought that "Fungus the Bogeyman" was weird!                  
Mike Swierczewski

N. B.  Not unless he's buried in the Sedlec Ossuary.
This was a fantastic quiz! I want to go there!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdelargy/2887684013/in/photostream/   Just incredible!!!
Mary South

N. B.  Well a lot people never planned to go there, but they wound up there anyway.
You should be so lucky.

Colleen- Where did you get this one!                                               
Betty Chambers

N.B.  Oh, I did something like this for my science fair project years ago...

I never cease to be amazed at the eccentric and bizarrely difficult cultural anomalies
there are to be found in our world.  Often the most non-sensical seem to somehow ber
related to religion too.  Dig up your ancestor's bones to make a coat of arms?  In a
church?  I don't get it...  What was the thought process of the person who first came
up with this idea?                                                                                  
Dave Town

N. B.  František Rint was not only known for his fantastic work on the Sedlec
Ossuary, he was also very popular to invite over for Thanksgiving dinner. You should
have seen what he did with the turkey carcass...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW_gZ83fnVU], Bach is always
outstanding, of course, but I really would have thought Grateful Dead...Perhaps even
better, Bonerama. It's a New Orleans rock/funk/jazz band that's a bunch of trombones,
a Sousaphone, drums and guitar. They'd make that ol' ossuary dance.     
 Peter Norton

At first sight, it did not click that the stick-like objects were bones, and the whole coat
of arms was constructed with them. The skulls are most obvious and a search for
“skull coat of arms” readily resulted in finding the answer to the quiz. After reading
about the chapel I wondered what it smelled like inside.

The other half of the coat of arms proved even more interesting - especially the bird
pecking at the eye of a skull. I was fascinated to learn that it actually depicts the original
“coat” about which I read - “After the conquest of Raab, the Turkish fortress, the
emblem was enlarged in 1599 by Adolf zu Schwarzenberg with head of a Turk, his
eyes being pecked out by a raven.”  It reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 movie
“The Birds” based on a short story by Daphne Dumaurier. On the coat of arms the
raven’s pecking would be in disdain; in the movie the birds seemed ravenous and bent
on scaring the daylights out of the town’s residents and as a result, the viewer.
Don Draper
This was the easiest quiz I've ever solved. I just Googled: Coat of Arms made from
Bones and the hit was at the top.  
                                                            Jim Kiser

I found photos on Flickr from someone's vacation to Prague, which helped narrow the
search. They shot the chandelier, and so chandelier of bones was a pretty narrow
field... Ended up here:

Was a Bubonic Plague quiz too well timed as we worry about Swine Flu this
Halloween? ; )                                                                                    
Joe Ruffner

I found it with a Google search for "skull bones coat of arms", which brought up this
full sized photo from Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gdelargy/2888517714/  The
magic words are squeamish ossifrage.                                           
Edward Vielmetti

Gruesome! I suppose that in some older countries, they have just simply run out of
room to bury the dead.  Perhaps some cultures just don't have the hangups that we
have with the dead! Enjoyed the Halloween quiz!                               
 Evan Hindman

Ah.... it's the one that copies the one in Rome, according to Wikipedia. Nice music.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW_gZ83fnVU.] This decor leaves much to
be desired.  It looks like the skulls are eating their own bones... nasty. Rome's version
is much more aesthetically pleasing, if that is possible.   Gruesome comes to mind. It is
a more appropriately disgusting display for the subject of the quiz...the witches holy
day. :-)                                                                                              
Suzan Farris

That is so interesting - my whole family would love to tour that place (my husband is a
mortician and my kids spent their early years living above the funeral home)!  When I
first saw the photoquiz and the coat of arms it made me think right away of the episode
of "Bones" where a death metal band had used a human skeleton as the backdrop for
their stage.   I am going to pass that video on to friends for Halloween, I think they will
like it too. Happy Halloween!                                                               
Nicole Blank

Now this is my kind of place! We plan to visit Slovakia next year - Allan's ancestral
home, and I want to go see this. But I do have a question, how do they preserve these
bones? I know from personal experience they disintegrate after they dry out.
Debbie Sterbinsky
WOW - What a weird little place - but interesting!                            
Elaine C. Hebert

That is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen.                             
Sharon Martin

Totally awesome, macabre quiz!!  More, more! I did find a website called The Skeleton
Factory in case you just have to have your own bone chandelier:
                                                                                              Beth Long
At first, I thought of the Chapel of bones at Portugal. After checking out the photos, I
realized it is not the right one. I found the list of the dead(s) on display at
sacred-destinations.com/sacred-sites/dead-on-display.htm and that is where I found the
correct one:
                                                                                       Christine Bates
I gave this quiz-with a little help from me-to Jonni 'cause she's my punk rock type
student...actually mom has decorated her room with the punk rock stuff....Jonni is
bedridden; can't talk; has a trake and loves weid music..so when I showed her the skull
pictures she broke out in big smiles.                     
Mr. Rick and QuizMistress Jonni
Bone Chalice
Sedlec Ossuary
Answer to Quiz #230
October 25, 2009
Cathedral of the Assumption of Our
Lady and St. John the Baptist
The House of Schwartzenberg Coast of Arms
Dem Bones. Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones….
(Weldow Johnson  1876 - 1938)

Schwarzenberg Coat of Arms is shown,
In the Ossarary at Kutna Hora-Sedlec, there,
Presenting a rendition by Frantiser Rint, the Carver,
In an Art Work of human bones, most rare.

An unusual Chandlier is also displayed,
Containing all of the bones of the human body,
Casting  light on all of the boney artistic items,
Creating a presentation that's not too shoddy.

Robert Edward McKenna
Quiz Poet Laureate


                Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini

"What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be."
Memento Mori

Appointment in Shiraz

A man in a market in Tehran one day
Was startled by Death staring his way.
He made a plan of escape – to Shiraz he would flee
To leave that same day, and immediately!

His wife, so surprised, went to the bazaar
Confronted Old Death, to ask him what was?
Death said he was shocked to have him in sight,
He was appointed to meet him in Shiraz that same night.

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Understudy to Quiz Poet Laureate
Robert Edward McKenna
The German noble family of Schwarzenbergs was
originally called the Lords of Seinsheim and their proper
emblem was a shield with silver and blue stripes. After
the conquest of Raab, the Turkish fortress, the emblem
was enlarged in 1599 by Adolf zu Schwarzenberg with
head of a Turk, his eyes being pecked out by a raven. In
1688, there was another modification of the
coat-of-arms which was improved by the symbols of
other dominions. Three red spikes in a green field
symbolise the Schultz dominion which was annexed to
the dominion by Ferdinand zu Schwarzenberg after the
marriage with Marie Anna von Schultz. A burning twig
symbolises the Brandis dominion. In the heart shield of
the coat-of-arms there are emblems of the
Schwarzenberg dominions - a tower on a black hill and
Thanks to long time Quizmaster Marilyn Hamill for suggesting this quiz.
Entrance to the
Sedlec Ossuary
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Count Rick McKinney and his Minion Quizmistress Jonni!

Milene Rawlinson                Kitty Huddleston                Diane Burkett
Laurel Fletchner                Sherry Marshall
Anne Alves                Carl Blessing
Tamura Jones                Mike Swierczewski
Gary Sterne                John Chulick
Beth Long                Jacqueline Wyatt
Teresa Yu                Debbie Sterbinsky
Don Draper                Jim Kiser
Joe Ruffner                Nicole Blank
Edward Vielmetti                Joshua Kreitzer
Karen Kay Bunting                Peter Norton
Evan Hindman              Gine Hudson  
Karen Petrus and Marcie Bradshaw, Sister-in-Law Quiz Team
Stan Read                Brian Kemp
Daniel E. Jolley                M. Diane Rogers
Carolyn Cornelius                Elaine C. Hebert
Dennis Brann                Betty Chambers
JoLynn Pfeiffer                Wayne Douglas
Gerald Vanlandingham                Margaret Paxton
Alan Lemm                Carol Darrow
Linda Williams                Christine Bates
Mike Dalton                Robert W. Steinmann, Jr.
Mary Mauldin                Venita Wilson
Robert Edward McKenna, Quiz Poet Laureate
1.  Whose coat of arms is this?

2.  Where would you find this
rendition of it?

3.  What is so unusual about the
nearby chandelier?
(Not shown in picture)
Halloween Quiz #1 of 2.
Kleggau -three golden sheaves. Two golden lions occassionally appear as
shield-bearers. The prince's crown above the coat-of-arms symbolises the prince's title.
Alternate form of
Schwartzenberg coat of
Other Ossuarys
This modern French ossuary contains the jumbled bones of
130,000 WWI soldiers.
Douamont Monastery
Santa Maria della Concezione
The crypts of Capuchin friars decorated with the bones of
over 4000 friars, including an entire "crypt of pelvises"
Mummified monks and the accidentally interred, in a
17th-century crypt
This modern French ossuary contains the jumbled bones of
130,000 WWI soldiers.
Czech Capuchin Crypt