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Japanese Tattooing


    THE last number (Heft 32, May, 1885) of the Mittheilungen der deutschen Gesellschaft für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens is almost wholly occupied by a paper of a most exhaustive character by Dr. Baelz, a physician in the service of the Japanese Government, on the physical qualities of the Japanese. A previous paper by the same writer gave the results of his investigations into Japanese skeletons. For the purposes of the present paper he obtained numerous anthropometrical measurements—about 2500—based on a scheme which included seventy-nine measurements in the case of each individual. It is noticeable that Broca confined himself to little more than a third of this number, Virchow's scheme contemplated thirteen, and at the most thirty-eight, Weissbach sixty-seven, and Quetelet, in his anthropometry, gives eighty-two measurements. The skeleton plan of the paper is as follows: 1. Skin and hair: the colour of the skin and its cause, artificial colouring, including tattooing, the characteristics and nature of the hair; 2. The physique in general, including the carriage and gait of both sexes, weight, size, and growth; 3. Measurements of the body and limbs. In the discussion of the results set forth in this section the author expresses the opinion, based on his own investigations, that in general the value of these anthropometrical measurements is much exaggerated by anthropologists and ethnographers.

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