Sunday, June 20, 2010


Anthropometry (Greek άνθρωπος, man, and μέτρον, measure), refers to the measurement of the individual to understand human physical variation.
From Wikipedia:

There were eleven measurements:
Stretch: Length of body from left shoulder to right middle finger when arm is raised
Bust: Length of torso from head to seat, taken when seated
Length of head: Crown to forehead
Width of head: Temple to temple
Length of right ear
Length of left foot
Length of left middle finger
Length of left cubit: Elbow to tip of middle finger
Width of cheeks

This is a link to a page about measurement techniques: Anthropometric Measuring and Fundamentals.

It was used first to identify criminals, but was such a complex system that it eventually gave way to fingerprinting.  Link to a page with a description of Alphonse Bertillon' measurement technique.  Link to a standard anthropometry card with Alphonse Bertillon;s photograph. Syracuse University forensics course page with samples of anthropometry cards. More Bertillon cards at the National Institute of Health. Link to a Rutgers University page describing facial measurement techniques.

Later anthropologists used it to classify the races - and as a result popularized a kind of scientific racism. (see a post about Petrus Camper - How to Draw the Head)

Facial Geometry: Graphic Facial Analysis for Forensic ArtistsAnthropometric Facial Proportions in Medicine

Anthropometry: The Individual and the Population (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology)Anthropometry: Webster's Timeline History, 1695 - 2007

Physique: The Life of John S. Barrington
John Barrington wrote a book about anthropometry in the 1950s, Anthropometry and Anatomy, for Artists With Over 700 Illustrations

Carl Schmidt's method is reflected in the book by John S. Barrington, who was a physical culture enthusiast and specialized in male models and published books of models to be used as art studies. Here is a review of a book about his life: The Independent.

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