Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cranial Binding

It is a fact that chidren's bones are quite soft, especially as infants, compared to adults. The fresh developed bones have not settled the calcium yet, which makes them feel more like cartilage than actual bones. From this, it made the bones very malleable, but why should that matter? No historians to date known how exactly the tradition of Cranial Binding started. Some say religious beliefs, it was the head shape of the gods, others suggest it was simply a fashion statement. Like stated, no one knows. What they do know was the fact that cranial binding is a permanent form of body alteration of the skull, by intentional purposes.
 This intentional head molding was extremely popular in many cultures. Especially the ancient cultures; the Egyptians, Mayans, Incas and the tribes of North American natives. However, this "beauty trend" has been fading away since the beginning of the twenty-first century, but there are still some cultures in Africa who participate in this procedure.
There are multiple methods on how this procedure can be done. Typically carried out on infants, approximately a month after birth, the procedure continues for another six months. To distort the normal growth of the skull one must apply force. Each culture had a different technique and unique shape of their skulls. Flat shapes were used to elongate, rounded skulls and conical ones (considered the most popular) were made by binding with cloth.
Again, no one knows the specific reasons for this trend, each culture had their own. However, studies still continue to figure out other side effects. It is obvious there was physical distortions from the procedure, but were there any mental or internal-brain affects? Truly distorting the skull's shape should have some kind of bad result on the brain. Each individual could have had a different condition, since each person's brain develops differently. It is curious to think that these people put themselves through so much to look beautiful. Obviously they didn't realize a procedure like this could be damaging. If it did affect their brain, did it also affect their society? It is possible. Is it the reason that the Mayans were so brutal? Were they mentally crazy from these procedure? Probably not, but it does make one wonder...


  1. That is insane. I can not imagine doing anything that would hurt. People say beauty hurts, but I will not hurt myself to fit into societies weird standards of beauty.

  2. This absolutely shocked me.! I wish we could find out the reasons of orgins for this tradition. And since this is such a radical thing to do, I feel as if there is possibly more reasoning behind it than just beauty.