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Louis Auguste Bisson 
Skulls from the Philippines and Mariannes (detail) 
n.d. 
  
Lithograph, detail 
Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs 
Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs - Auction (Skylight Gallery Catalog 28,April 30, 2009, #9) 
  
 
LL/32284 
  
Large lithographic plate reproducing six daguerreotypes by Louis-Auguste Bisson ca. 1841 of skulls from natives of the Philippines and Mariannes islands. Mounted on sheet 13 x 19.5 inches (33x50cm) . With printed attribution "Voyage au P¶le Sud & Dans L'Océanie / Anthropologie, Pl. 40 / Gide +diteur / Lith par Léveillé d'aprÞs les cr"nes naturels, photographié par Bisson, sous la Direction de Mr. le Dr. Dumoutier / Imp. par Thierry FrÞres a Paris." Print size 11.75 x 16 inches (30x41 cm).
 
From the rare illustrative supplement to Dumont D'Urville, "Voyage au P¶le Sud et dans l'Océanie..." (1842-7). The subjects are identified in the image as "Femme / Femme / Femme / D'un Ossuaire moderne de Zambouagan, Ile Mindanao, Archipel des Philippines (Micronesie) / D'un Ossuaire moderne de Zambouangan, Ile Mindanao, Archipel des Philippines (Malaisie) / D'un Ossuaire Chamoro, District d'Agat, Ile Guabam, Archipel des Mariannes (Malaisie)."
 
Produced at the very dawn of the photographic era, these daguerreian lithographs are one of the earliest uses of photography as a scientific mirror of the external world. Their meticulous detail and strong three-dimensionality recreates the impression of the original daguerreotype plates. Some of Bisson's original daguerreotypes from the project survive in museums, and two (of skulls) are illustrated in "Le daguerréotype franþais: Un objet photographique" (2003), pp. 369-370. (Christopher Wahren) 
 
 
  

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