Head  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

(Redirected from Human head)
Jump to: navigation, search
Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda.
Enlarge
Mona Lisa, or La Gioconda.
Designs by French artist Charles Le Brun, from Méthode pour apprendre à dessiner les passions (1698), a book about the physiognomy of the 'passions'.
Enlarge
Designs by French artist Charles Le Brun, from Méthode pour apprendre à dessiner les passions (1698), a book about the physiognomy of the 'passions'.

Related e

Google
Wikipedia
Wiktionary
Wiki Commons
Wikiquote
Wikisource
YouTube
Shop


Featured:
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Enlarge
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In anatomy, the head of an animal is the rostral part (from anatomical position) that usually comprises the brain, eyes, ears, nose, and mouth (all of which aid in various sensory functions, such as sight, hearing, smell, and taste). Some very simple animals may not have a head, but many bilaterally symmetric forms do.

Cultural importance

For humans, the head and particularly the face are the main distinguishing feature between different people, due to their easily discernible features such as hair and eye color, nose, eye and mouth shapes, wrinkles, etc. Human faces are easily differentiable to us due to our brains' predispositions toward discriminating human facial forms. When observing a relatively unfamiliar species, all faces seem nearly identical, and human infants are biologically programmed to recognize subtle differences in anthropic facial features.

People who are more intelligent than normal are sometimes depicted in cartoons as having bigger heads, as a way of indicating that they have a larger brain; in science fiction, an extraterrestrial having a big head is often symbolic of high intelligence. Outside of this symbolic depiction, however, advances in neurobiology have shown that the functional diversity of the brain means that a difference in overall brain size is not a reliable indicator of how much, if any, difference in overall intelligence exists between two humans.

The head is a source for many metaphors and metonymies in human language, including referring to things typically near the human head ( "the head of the bed"), things physically similar to the way a head is arranged spatially to a body ("the head of the table"), metaphorically ("the head of the class/FBI"), and things that represent some characteristic we associate with the head, such as intelligence ("there are a lot of good heads in this company"). These examples are all from English, but only some are possible expressions in other languages (depending on the language). (See Lakoff and Johnson 1980, 1999)

Ancient Greeks had a method for evaluating sexual attractiveness based on the Golden Ratio, part of which included measurements of the head.

Clothing

In many cultures, covering the head is seen as a sign of respect. Often, some or all of the head must be covered and veiled when entering holy places, or places of prayer. For many centuries, women in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia have covered their hair as a sign of modesty. This trend has changed drastically in Europe in the 20th century, although is still observed in other parts of the world. In addition, a number of religious paths require men to wear specific head clothing—such as the Islamic Taqiyah, Jewish yarmulke, or the Sikh turban; or Muslim women, who cover their hair, ears, and neck with a scarf.

People may cover the head for other reasons. A hat, is a piece of clothing covering just the top of the head. This may be part of a uniform, such as a Police uniform, a protective device such as a hard hat, a covering for warmth, or a fashion accessory.

Different headpieces can also signify status, origin, religious/spiritual beliefs, social grouping, occupation, and fashion choices.


See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Head" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools