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Subject: Human skin bindings

Human skin bindings

From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Thursday, August 3, 2006
Mark Clarke <mark [at] clericus__org> writes

>Some years back I was confronted with a book which we had reason to
>suspect might be bound in human skin, but short of taking samples
>(or perhaps, in retrospect, taking it to a dermatologist) we weren't
>sure how to identify it. In this case it seemed to be leather not
>parchment (I infer from the postings on ExLibris that both
>treatments of human skin have been found). My question is: short of
>taking samples, are there any obvious signs, or maybe obvious with a
>simple lens or microscope?

Unless the grain of the skin was removed, a simple examination with
a hand lens of the follicle pattern will reveal whether or not the
skin is human.

One does not require a handbook of samples; examine the follicles on
one's forearm--examine at the cover in question.

Follicle patterns are unique.  Scales on fish, etc. are markers.

Thompson Conservation Lab.
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, Oregon  97217
Fax: 503-289-8723

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:11
                  Distributed: Monday, August 28, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-11-003
Received on Thursday, 3 August, 2006

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