Zondag 30 oktober/Sunday 30 October
The human skull: totem or taboo? (lecture in English)
Philip Van Kerrebroeck
Hoogleraar em. Urologie, Universiteit Maastricht
The human skull has symbolic and religious value in many societies, and is preserved, venerated, and sacrificed. Colonials, in contact with cultures in which human skulls played a role, were fascinated by their significance and beauty. Hence, these skulls ended up as collector items. Recently the presence of human remains in collections has become a controversial issue and an ethical dilemma. In this presentation the significance of the tribal human skull will be presented, as well as the aesthetics, based on unique examples. The ethical and legal issues around the skull as part of a collection will also be debated.