Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I had some difficulties discovering exactly what Chyromantie is. The snippet of French  lettering in the piece above was wafting around my work table on its own, with nothing to show its original source. I stuck it on the piece, and turned to Google. On the the National Library of Australia's website, I found this explanation of chyromantie in reference to a book on the subject, translated from Latin by one Thomas Hill in 1571 : "The contemplation of mankinde, contayning a singuler discourse after the art of phisiognomie, on all the members and partes of man, as from the heade to the foote, in a more ample maner than hytherto hath beene published of any."* 
So apparently, chyromantie is the "science" of divining a person's character based on a system of physical attributes, a belief which no doubt contributed to the worship of physical perfection still found in our culture today. Which I confess myself guilty of--I usually select an image I consider attractive to use in my work, such as Ingre's Grande Odalisque in this piece. Fortunately, we no longer assume that an unattractive woman is a witch, or that a person with a physical deformity must be an ogre. Progress!

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