Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found by Frances LarsonThe human head is exceptional. It accommodates four of our five senses, encases the brain, and boasts the most expressive set of muscles in the body. It is our most distinctive attribute and connects our inner selves to the outer world.
Yet there is a dark side to the head’s preeminence, one that has, in the course of human history, manifested itself in everything from decapitation to headhunting. So explains anthropologist Frances Larson in this fascinating history of decapitated human heads. From the Western collectors whose demand for shrunken heads spurred massacres to Second World War soldiers who sent the remains of the Japanese home to their girlfriends, from Madame Tussaud modeling the guillotined head of Robespierre to Damien Hirst photographing decapitated heads in city morgues,from grave-robbing phrenologists to skull-obsessed scientists, Larson explores our macabre fixation with severed heads.
Hubble Images God the Father, Jesus, John's severed head, the Serpant all in one image.
How to Take a Picture of a Severed Head
Decapitation is the complete separation of the head caput from the body. Such an injury is fatal to humans and animals, since it deprives all other organs of the involuntary functions that are needed for the body to function, while the brain is deprived of oxygenated blood and blood pressure. The term beheading refers to the act of deliberately decapitating a person, either as a means of murder or execution ; it may be accomplished with an axe, sword, knife, or by mechanical means such as a guillotine. An executioner who carries out executions by beheading is called a headsman. Suicide by decapitation is rare but not unknown. Less commonly, decapitation can also refer to the removal of the head from a body that is already dead. This might be done to take the head as a trophy , for public display , to make the deceased more difficult to identify, for cryonics , or for other, more esoteric reasons.
Clad in all black except for the beige kaffiyeh wrapping his face, he stands , arms raised, weapon in one hand, ISIS flag in the other. Through dark aviators, he stares down the camera from just a few feet away.
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