Von Luschan's chromatic scale

Von Luschan's chromatic scale

Von Luschan's chromatic scale is a method of classifying skin color. It is also called the von Luschan scale or von Luschan's scale. It is named after its inventor, Felix von Luschan. The equipment consists of 36 opaque glass tiles which were compared to the subject's skin, ideally in a place which would not be exposed to the sun (such as under the arm).

Though the von Luschan scale was used extensively throughout the first half of the twentieth century in the study of race and anthropometry, it was considered problematic, even by its practitioners, because it was very inconsistent. In many instances, different investigators would give different readings of the same person. It was largely abandoned by the early 1950s, replaced instead by methods utilizing reflectance spectrophotometry.

A less finely tiered scale of six skin types is currently in use (introduced 1975) for the purpose of classifying sun tanning risk. These types correspond to::type I: von Luschan 1-5 (very light).:type II: von Luschan 6-10 (light).:type III: von Luschan 11-15 (intermediate).:type IV: von Luschan 16-20 ("Mediterranean").:type V: von Luschan 21-28 (dark or "brown").:type VI: von Luschan 29-36 (very dark or "black").The important difference between the von Luschan and the skin type scales is one of intended application: the skin tone scale is intended to simply classify individuals by their "de facto" skin tone, not to establish racial classifications of entire cognate populations.


*von Luschan F (1897). "Beiträge zur Völkerkunde der Deutschen Schutzgebieten." Berlin: Deutsche Buchgemeinschaft.
*von Luschan F (1927). "Voelker, Rassen, Sprachen : Anthropologische Betrachtungen." Berlin: Deutsche Buchgemeinshaft.

External links

* [http://www.sitesled.com/members/racialreality/skincolor.html Von Luschan's Chromatic Scale] (at bottom) and other anthropometric instruments at the Natural History Museum of Florence

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