Last night I had an urge to draw my version of Loki.
So here he is :DI’m sorry I’ll get back to the stuff I owe people nowAnywho, his design experienced a tiny change in his collar. Yay!Enjoy!All characters, content and designs are © 2013 hel-to-valhalla
All rights reserved. No characters, content or designs may be used, reproduced, copied, edited, transmitted, duplicated, printed, claimed or uploaded in any way shape or form without my written permission.
Halloween (2): Bound in human skin
This beautiful binding is made of, you guessed it, human skin. For the longest time I thought this practice (anthropdermic bibliopegy) was a myth, but it is not. It frequently occurred in the 17th and 18th centuries, and even later. Human skin was removed from a corpse, tanned (or processed in another way) and then used to cover a book. Harvard’s Houghton Library has one from the 1880s (read more about it here), but the one in this image is much older. Dating from the early 17th century, this book seems to have been bound in the skin of the priest Father Henry Garnet, who was executed in 1606 for his role in the Gunpowder Plot - the attempt to ignite 36 barrels of gunpowder under the British Parliament. Ironically, the printed book Garnet’s skin was put around outlined the story and the evidence of the plot. In a twist wonderfully suitable for Halloween, the face of Garnet was thought to have appeared on the binding (faintly visible in the image), which is the only nonsense part of this bizarre and gross story. Happy Halloween!
More details. The story of binding a book in human skin is connected to criminals. During the 1830s a murderer was stripped off his skin (post-execution), which ended up as a binding for John Milton’s Poetical Works (read about it here). Another 19th-century criminal whose skin ended up as a book was John Horwood (read the gruesome details here). More about the practice in general in this National Geographic piece; more about the book above here, as well as in this Guardian news article.