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Re: [BKARTS] hotbed skins



There are actually a number of books bound in human skin out there (I have also heard of lampshades...).  It was a strange fetish for awhile, all the books I've heard of were from the Victorian period, though there may be more as I've not attempted any exhaustive search on the matter. 

Having gotten to handle two of them (one at a medical library, one in a special collecitons library) they honestly looked like vellum, right down to the hair pattern. The one I saw in a medical library was bound around a discussion of the brain formation of the skin's 'owner' who had been a lifetime criminal and murderer who was disected after execution.

...all the things you never wanted to know!!!

>>> mgarelick@xxxxxxxxxxx 10/12/05 1:07 PM >>>
kattalina kazunas wrote:

>It is interesting to consider that Native Americans
>used animals hides and skins and bones, for clothing,
>shelter, tools, food, and so forth. The difference
>was, they killed the animals with a degree of
>"respect" (for lack of a better word), AND, they also
>used every inch of the animal's parts, and were not
>wasteful. 
>
Well, um, I have a quibble with this. PLEASE do not regard this as a 
flame . . . this is a topic that, in general, I am interested in, not 
consumed by.

My response is this: Native Americans killed animals and used all their 
parts because they had no choice. Their frugality was due more to the 
need to survive than any questionable moral opposition to waste. And the 
"killing with respect" thing has always seemed a little threadbare to 
me. It seems like something meant more to console the hunter 
(understandable) or his audience (just plain silly), than anything 
likely to make the dead animal feel better. Speaking personally, if 
someone kills me, I don't really care what their attitude was about it.

Having said all that, I have no objection to using animal skins for 
binding. I am more concerned, *much* more concerned, with how the animal 
was raised and butchered than that they were killed for our use. I do 
agree with Kattalina that no other material can aesthetically match 
leather as a binding, too.

By the way, I have heard, and want to believe, that there is a book 
bound in human skin in the collection of the Boston Athenaeum.

As always, fascinated by what happens on this list,
Matthew

-- 
Matthew Garelick
www.mattthehat.com 

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