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Sheepskin Pshaw!

from The Atlantic

Science Confirms: Yup, This Book Really Is Bound in Human Skin

Surely, you’ve seen our recent work on anthropodermic bibliopegy, the early modern practice of binding books in human skin?

No? Well, a quick refresher: some books, since the 16th century but before our own time, were bound in human skin. Why? “The confessions of criminals were occasionally bound in the skin of the convicted,” Harvard librarian Heather Cole explained, “or an individual might request to be memorialized for family or lovers in the form of a book.”

Qué romantico!

Anyway, we know it happened because people refer to it happening in the literature of the time, and also because some books bore inscriptions that literally said that they were bound in skin.

But such tomes are suspect. You can’t just trust anyone who says they’ve bound a book in human skin. For example, one had this inscription, but turned out to be stupid sheepskin:

The bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on June 5, 2014 by Editor

Filed under Culture Music Art, Weirdness | | No Comments »