Under the wings of the Phoenix Under the wings of the Phoenix
Under the wings of the Phoenix
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur Kassel, Bildarchiv
Photo: Frank Fleischmann


21. October 2011 – 1. January 2012

History and presence of cremation

In Cooperation With Dresden-Tolkewitz        

The mythical firebird Phoenix was the godfather of the magazine of the same name, which since 1888 with the subtitle "Blätter für fakultative Feuerbestattung und verwandte Gebiete" (Papers for facultative cremation and related issues) was the central organ of the Verband der Feuerbestattungsvereine deutscher Sprache (Association of cremation societies of German language). "Under the Phoenix’ Wings" was the title of the Dresden City Archive’s exhibition, which was dedicated to the centenary of the crematorium in Dresden-Tolkewitz. In line with this, the famous architect Fritz Schumacher founded the modern crematorium architecture.

This exhibition is now being shown in Kassel and expanded to include the historical background of cremation and its modern perspectives. Finally, photographs by Frank Fleischmann document how decommissioned and decaying crematoria of the Art Nouveau period experience their own infirmity and thus unfold their very own Memento Mori.

 "...In this form of cremation, we have thus gained a form of burial that is truly without any disadvantages for the living. That hands over the precious remains of dear deceased people in the gentlest way possible without mixing them with any foreign substances and in the shortest possible time enables a safe, rapid decomposition above ground, instead of exposing them to the uncertain, slow burning below ground, which degenerates it into putrefaction too easily and then brings ruin and death to the living....".

Translation of Prof. Carl Reclam, Die Feuerbestattung, in: Die Gartenlaube 1874, Issue 19, pp. 308-313


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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur

Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Weinbergstraße 25–27
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0

Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst
Kassel Documenta Stadt
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