The Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Harbin, China. Photos by REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Serpent D’Océan - Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, France
Stuck in a perpetual state of decay on the French shore at Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, the massive metal sculpture entitled, Serpent D’Océan is a terrifying vision with an environmental message.
The skeletal serpent was unveiled in 2012 as part of the Estuaire art exhibition which invites international artists to create large-scale works using the environment surrounding the Loire River between Nantes to Saint-Nazaire. The work was created by Chinese-French artist Huang Yong Ping, who used the rough iconography of China’s mythological dragons to design the over 400 foot long art monster. The beast is posed in slithering movement despite being nothing more than bones, giving the dull metal frame an unsettlingly life-like quality.
Given its location on the shore, the Serpent D’Océan can be seen as a strangely living creature rising from the ocean waters or a purposefully preserved skeleton held above the shallow waves depending on the level of the tide upon a given visit. But despite the changing tides, fantasy, art, and horror have rarely been so steadfastly intertwined.
Curious Fact of the Week: How to Make a Bone Chandelier
The unsettling celebrated Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic is best known as the “Bone Church” — and with good reason. It’s estimated the bleached bones of between 40,000 and 70,000 dearly departed souls grace the walls. However, in all the skull garlands and charming touches like a bone bird plucking at a gaping eye socket, the centerpiece is without a doubt the chandelier.
It can be hard to make out in the ornate jumble, but there’s at least one of every bone in the human body in the chandelier. It’s arguably the masterpiece of the macabrely eccentric Frantisek Rint, a woodcarver who approached the ordering of the thousands of bones in 1870 as an artistic task. Perhaps surprisingly to everyone but Rint, the ossuary has become quite the tourist destination.
Why are there so many dead people in this one small space? Story goes that back in the 13th century, the Sedlec Monastery Abbot brought back some earth from the Holy Land. Unfortunately, he didn’t carry much, so the spare land where he sprinkled the dirt became quite crowded with people who wanted to rest eternally in its gritty grace. So the ossuary was the result, where everyone in a way could be close.
As for the chandelier, once you know that a whole anatomy is up there details like femurs and jawbones start to emerge. The crowning touch is the ring of skulls topped with candles, which are illuminated each year on All Soul’s Day.
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lightning strikes fireworks