Phrenology

Illustrated skull handling inspired by the misguided thoughts of phrenology.

Images printed as a grid of 6x6 as an A1 medical poster, or on plain printer paper and map-folded into a handy reference guide.

Nasion
Nasion
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Internasal suture
Internasal suture
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Squamous occupital bone
Squamous occupital bone
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Ramus
Ramus
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Palatoid process
Palatoid process
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Nasomaxillary suture
Nasomaxillary suture
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Frontozygomatic suture
Frontozygomatic suture
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Temporal fossa
Temporal fossa
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Superior orbital fissure
Superior orbital fissure
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External acoustic meatus
External acoustic meatus
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Frontoethimoidal suture
Frontoethimoidal suture
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Infraorbital foramen
Infraorbital foramen
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Temporal fossa
Temporal fossa
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Pterion
Pterion
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Zygomatic arch
Zygomatic arch
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Vertex
Vertex
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Inferior turbinated bone
Inferior turbinated bone
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Intermaxillary suture
Intermaxillary suture
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Lacrimal notch
Lacrimal notch
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Alveolar canals
Alveolar canals
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Mental tubercle
Mental tubercle
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Occupital protuberance
Occupital protuberance
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Mylohyoid line
Mylohyoid line
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Alveolar yoeks
Alveolar yoeks
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Condylar process
Condylar process
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Base of phalanx
Base of phalanx
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Ungual tuberosity
Ungual tuberosity
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Fibularis bravis
Fibularis bravis
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Cuneiforms
Cuneiforms
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Greater trochanter
Greater trochanter
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Illustrated skull handling inspired by the misguided thoughts of phrenology.
​At first glance, this looks like a scientific guide, and though the terms are accurate, it isn't clear what part of the skull they refer to. On further inspection, it becomes obvious that this is not depicting a particularly good way of handling the bones at all. Instead it provokes an emotive feeling to see fingers stuck into eyeballs, jaws forced open like at a dentist, a hand over the forehead like a skull in life having a headache; bringing out a feeling of empathy with the dead skull.
​The series is to emphasise that human remains aren't always in locked glass cases; they are handled and studied. Some holds may damage the skull, some may be sound but feel wrong because of empathy with it. Medical students, archaeologists, anatomists and others must learn to separate the two; just as whilst treating them with care and respect, students need to learn the emotional distance to be able to work with human remains effectively.
​The sense of feeling the skull of another human says more to the person still living, than of anything about the one now dead.