If you don’t think your tattoo artist should go in drunk, neither should you! Alcohol and tattoos don’t mix kids…
The symbolism of gang tattoos fascinates me. It’s entirely as legitimate as almost any art historical motifs and is probably even more culturally relevant.
So here are some for your viewing pleasure.
Up in the rice terraces of the Cordillera mountain range of the Philippines live the last few tattooed women of Kalinga. Traditional tattooing is seen as archaic and painful by the younger generations of Kalingas. As an Indigenous group that has successfully fought against colonizing forces, it is losing the practice of traditional tattooing because of the changing perspective of beauty and interpretations of the practice by outside scholars.
Studies on the tradition interpreted the practice to show that men were given tattoos because of brave acts during tribal wars while the women were given tattoos just to decorate their bodies. Men who attempt to get traditional tattoos without acts of bravery are shunned by the community and are now unable to continue the practice without facing criminal charges from the government. Women are unconstrained by the same reasons but are struggling to continue the practice because of the pervasive western interpretations of aesthetics that changed the perceptions of “beauty” in Kalinga. To the women of Kalinga, the batok or the tattoo goes beyond beauty and prestige but it is symbolic of the traditional values of women’s strength and fortitude.
The traditional tattoo is an indigenous body art, an expression of the psychological dimensions of life, health, love and it defines local perceptions of existence. Sadly there is now a decline of the traditional art among indigenous women brought about by the changing perspective of the meaning of the tattoo and its stigmatized practice. It is now considered a vanishing art along with the gatekeepers of the knowledge associated with it.
The Last Tattooed Women of Kalinga by Jake Verzosa. Jake Verzosa is a freelance photographer based in Manila.
Does this guy look familiar to anyone? Norman Rockwell’s model!
Those who dismiss tattoos as unclean, for criminals, or unnatural have to answer to the fact that is is more wide spread than almost any other art from throughout human history and culture…
(Source: dr0gon, via inspired--motivated)
Let’s go through the list, shall we?
- Stalking Cat was a computer programmer before he passed away earlier this year. He was Native American and trying to become closer to his totem animal. Through this, he helped pioneer all types of body modification and holds several Guinness Book Records.
- Erik Sprague, aka Lizard Man, was a former PhD candidate. He has a bachelor’s in philosophy and is a performance artist: both through international side shows and as a music festival host.
- Maria Jose Cristerna aka “La Mujer Vampiro” (Vampire Woman) is the mother of four children and a fuckin’ lawyer. She started her transformation after getting out of an abusive marriage, and has talked out against domestic violence.
- Rick Genest aka Rico The Zombie is a fucking international model, has more sponsorships than any of us could ever hope, and was featured in Lady Gaga’s Born This Way video. Not bad for a 27-year old former homeless punk, I’d say.
I’m willing to bet you haven’t accomplished nearly as much as any one of these people. They’re not only heavily tattooed, but they’re also impressive as all hell in the “employed” department. But don’t worry about it—feel free to keep trying to make yourself feel better about your average life, average body, and average accomplishments.
Successful, employed, intelligent, body mod legends.
Scan from the book Tattoo Time Volume 4, Life & Death Tattoos by Don Ed, published in 1987. A chapter in this book titled “Remains To Be Seen” features a medical oddity collection which is held at The Medical Pathology Museum of Tokyo University in Japan. One chapter features a pathologist by the name of Dr. Masaichi Fukushi. Fukushi’s was interested in the art of Japanese tattooing. Fukushi would perform autopsies on donated cadavers and dissect off just the skin. He created method of treatment to preserve the skin and kept them stretched in a glass frame, essentially like a leather. Later the ownership of the tattooed skin collection was passed on to Dr. Fukushi’s son Katsunari. Katsunari added a further 20 tattooed skins himself and it’s believed that The Medical Pathology Museum at Tokyo University has 105 in its collection, many with full body suits.
You guys have my full permission to do this to me once I die.
Ötzi: Iceman’s Tattoos Were Born In Fire
For those familiar [Otzi the Iceman], many are also aware that the oldest mummy found to date has tattoos. And lots of ‘em. Around his ankles, his wrist, his back… lots of small markings around his body that, just recently, were investigated by a team of anthropologists and scientist.
Here are the facts about Otzi’s tattoos:
- The pigment found in Otzi’s dermis is soot. Otzi’s tattoos were born from the remains of a fire.
- On a microscopic level, the soot has traces of iron, phosphorus, and calcium—leading anthropologists to believe the tattoos happened long before Otzi entered the mountains in which he died in.
- Almandine and quartz crystals were also found. If they were intentionally added, it may have given the tattoos a slight glittering effect in bright light. The other explanation is that they were found in the stones in which the soot was extracted.
- Most of the tattoos are made from parallel lines, ranging in 2 to 7 repetitions in one area.
- The fact that most of the tattoos were hidden by clothing indicate that they were not for display. (Other theories suggest that they were to indicate social status.)
- The main theories of Otzi’s tattoos are now that they were pragmatic—specifically, as a cure the arthritis there is proof that he had. Acupuncture treatments for arthritis are recorded in ancient China and even popular today. This theory not only revolutionizes what we understand about art history and medicine, but the historic intersection of art and science.
So this is cool! Found it on FaceBook:
My tattoo shows at my work place - at the museums, historical sites, powwows, and elementary schools I conduct programs for. I use my tattoo as an educational tool to spread Northeastern Native American cultural and historical awareness. My tattoo embodies my passion for Woodland Native American life-ways and museum interpretation.
To learn more about what I (the tattooed historical interpreter) teach, visit us at https://www.facebook.com/WoodlandIndianEDU - we offer teachers FREE historically accurate Native American coloring pages and lesson plans… and we post cultural information and articles for all.
For everyone curious about culturally significant and respectful tattoos.
Sacred Skin is a documentary that travels the world looking for the last practitioners of truly traditional body modification.
Māori Tā Moko face marking is a sacred practice among the indigenous tribes of New Zealand. Each Moko design was unique to each individual, (no two designs were ever the same as they were never duplicated) and signified a young man’s transition from childhood to manhood. As well as representing rank and status these marks also had significant meaning to the wearer, symbolically connecting them to their ancestors and lineage.
(Source: the-midnight-gallery, via hipscrack)