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January 18, 2011

I found in Olšanské hřbitovy a section of wall remodelled in recent years to hold the urns of the deceased. In columns perhaps four or five high, glass display cases, each two feet by two feet, span the southeasternmost wall. The rows are broken only by the intrusion of a gate or two. Photographs, flowers, trinkets, candles, the urns themselves people these cases, which bring to mind those displays in which butterfly specimens are sometimes stored. Some cases brim with tokens, while others hold nothing more than an urn and a slip of paper on which a name is sometimes scrawled. It is unclear in what way these displays capture the lives of those departed, the transparency of the glass a marked contrast to the opacity of both the living and the dead.

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