The History of Handreading
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Handreading Origins Chiromancy Victorian Palmistry Modern Chirology Bibliography

Indian Palmist's Manuscript, C18th

Chiromancy, palmistry, hand-reading, hand analysis, chirology.  For centuries the features of the hands have fascinated scholars, sages, theologians, doctors and laymen alike. 

Discover the secrets of the hand as we take you through the years.  The History of Handreading website will tell you the story of the study of the human hand.

The Astrological Hand by Jean Belot, 1640

This work originally began in 1989 as a short history of chirology of some three thousand words and was but merely a summary of the main events in the development of chirology over the centuries. However, historical studies have a habit of drawing you in and leaving you unsatisfied until all stones have been turned! The second draft multiplied to thirty thousand words and the third draft, in turn, multiplied to some sixty thousand words. Some seven years after finishing the research this, the fourth draft, was finally published in April 2001.

And yet, there are still many more nooks and crannies to be explored. For although this work comprehensively covers the literature to be found in academic institutions within the UK, notable gaps can readily be seen with regard to the literature held within European institutions and much more so with regard to the history of the development of the art in countries such as India, China and the Middle East. Despite these obvious shortfalls, it is some consolation to consider that a historical overview such as this can never be truly complete; it can only be a history of that which has been written down and can therefore only be a history of those texts which have survived the many centuries. Of that which has not been preserved, we can know nothing. This work is therefore presented knowing that there is still yet more to be written.

I acknowledge a considerable indebtedness to the four men who have gone before me in this endeavour, Edward Heron-Allen, Gino Sabbattini, Fred Gettings and Andrew Fitzherbert. I owe a particular debt of thanks to Fred Gettings whose work 'The Book of the Hand' of 1965 was the inspiration for my own researches into this subject.

Most of all I must thank my good friend and constant challenger on matters historical over many, many years of correspondence, Andrew Fitzherbert.
It is to him that this work is dedicated.

And to all the frauds, imposters and would-be wizards, I thank you also. For it is always true that one can never find the jewel without having previously sifted through all the dross.



Find out the Facts behind the Myths !

Aristotle and Julius Caesar were expert handreaders
The Church condemned Chiromancy
Palmists were persecuted as 'Witches'
The Bible sanctions Handreading
Handreading originated with the Gipsies
The meaning of 'Cross My Palm with Silver'
The treatise on a Golden Altar dedicated to Hermes
Albertus Magnus and Paracelsus were famous palmists
The ancient sources of palmistry are reliable
The 'Great Triangle' and the 'Quadrangle' are important
There is no scientific basis to handreading
Fingerprints are unimportant
There are Seven Handshape Types
William Benham wrote a scientific book on handreading
Compte de St Germain really knew his stuff
The oldest text on handreading is thousands of years old



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All material remains the copyright of Christopher Jones 1989-2019 

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Handreading Origins Chiromancy Victorian Palmistry Modern Chirology Bibliography