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Anthropodermic Bibliopegy: an Extensive Survey and Re-appraisal of the Phenomenon

Abstract : During the 19th and 20th centuries, the practice of binding books with human skin widespreaded. Although anthropodermic bibliopegy has often been mentioned, no comprehensive overview has previously been undertaken. This study provides the most extensive survey of books bound in human skin conducted to date. Curation and study of human remains is a major concern for museums. In the search of the most appropriate physicochemical identification method to carry for the authentification of the leather, I discusse the advantages and disadvantages of each archaeometric test. Protein signature, immunochemistry and DNA tests were assessed. In order to highlight the importance of a reflexion around the exhibition of these artefacts, sociological processes involved in their making and selling were discussed. Human bindings were associated with the judiciary system in Great Britain, France and U.S.A. as material witnesses to justice in action and part of post-mortem rites performed around criminal bodies. The skin were often retrieved from the bodies of the poor. A sociological overview of the phenomenon is here proposed.
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https://shs.hal.science/halshs-02321007
Contributor : Jennifer Kerner Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Sunday, October 20, 2019 - 10:36:55 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 8:15:47 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 1:38:35 PM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-02321007, version 1

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Jennifer Kerner. Anthropodermic Bibliopegy: an Extensive Survey and Re-appraisal of the Phenomenon. [Research Report] Université Paris-Nanterre. 2019. ⟨halshs-02321007⟩

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