Tattoos

Historic questions, thoughts and other interesting stuff

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wurzul
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Tattoos

Postby wurzul » Tue Jan 20, 2009 10:16 am

Can anyone recommend books on historical tatooing?



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Postby Phil the Grips » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:40 pm

Likely you'll have to narrow it down to "when" and "where" as most of the stuff I have seen is mainly written either from an art or anthropology perspective so looking at tattoos in context.

Otherwise it would have to be more of a "would x have y form of tattoo at z era?" for ease of answering.

If it's the usual "Can British soldiers have tattoos?" then the answer is maybe very small ones, in the C19th and if they served in the right area to have one done, and look at the sources- much of what they describe as tattoos were more like henna and body paint as they are described as washing of or fading after a short time.

If it's the "Did Celts have tattoos?" then I'll stand back with the popcorn...


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Postby wurzul » Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:49 pm

Was hoping for a general history, as there doesn't seem to be too much information I thought it might be manageable in one volume. My focus is largely Euro-centric C18th, but as I say, a general history would be ideal, since my interest stretches back almost, but not quite to the celts.. Later C19th is of less interest, since it is slightly better documented. Any recommendations gratefully received.



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Postby Hraefn » Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:24 pm

Not a busting lot of info on European stuff 'til the late 18th early 19thC from what I can find but I dint look that hard.

Here's a couple of refs late 17thC early 18thC

From one of William Dampiers travelogs (1680s)
He's describing Jeoly a 'painted' prince,(the .......... bits represent a skip forward)

He was painted all down the Breast, and behind.......... I cannot liken the Drawings to any Figures of Animals...................... full of great Variety of Lines, Florishes, Chequered Work, &c............... By the Account he gave me of the manner of doing it, I understood that the painting was done in the same manner as them Jerusalem Cross is made on Men's Arms, by pricking the Skin and rubbing in Pigment. But whereas Powder is used in making the Jerusalem Cross, those at Meangis use the Gum of a Tree, beaten to Powder, called by the English Dammar.................

there is also some vague evidence for 'medical' tats too like on Oetzi surviving through to the 18thC

and from Foxe
This runaway ad appeared in the American Weekly Mercury of March 17, 1720:

"...a North Country Man aged about 21 Years, Short Brownish Hair, Round-Faced. He has on one hand blue S.F. in blue letters and on the other hand blue Spots, and upon one arm our Saviour upon the Cross and on the other Adam and Eve, all supposed to be done in Gunpowder. He is a Saylor


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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:12 pm

Australian genealogy sites may be useful, like

http://www.sag.org.au/

What you need to track down are the Tickets of Leave. Leave Tickets often contain descriptions, including identifying marks. They were issued when cons got to the end of their term (except lifers, who never got Leave and were never allowed to return home to the UK/Ireland). The stubs of the originals still exist. If you can follow this site to other Aussie sources you may well find more.

www.convictcentral.com

is a useful site, too.

Seem to remember somewhere in the SAG shop are scans of Tickets of Leave. They mention tattoos in the description of the ex convicts, sometimes - and from the dates what you're looking at may well be late 18thC/early 19thC British tattoos.

There are refs to women with tattoos amongst the Leave Tickets, clear evidence some of the ropier females also had them in the 19thC.

I'm related to one of the British soldiers sent out on the Third Fleet. His regt were involved in the mutiny against Bligh when he was governor so I have done a bit of Aus research but not so much on the convict side. There's more info about the convicts than the soldiers though so you should be able to find something. I have definitely seen reference to tattoos on men and women and I think they were here, but may also be some excerpts from journals etc on Convict Central.

ETA: Just remembered. If you can access the British Library (Gale) via your library 17thC-19thC newspapers online - some libraries will let you use your library card number to get on from the comfort of your own home. If your local library doesn't subscribe to Gale, there's another way to do it (PM me if you want to know how, it's a neat thing!) then you can do a search of 18thC and 19thC sources for 'tattoo' and will find hundreds of descriptions of runaways, people in court cases, etc.

You can usually get the Times Online too, and the site re. cases at the Old Bailey covers the 18thC if I remember right.



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Hraefn
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Postby Hraefn » Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:47 pm

When does the term tattoo first get used in English, Dampier refers to them as 'painted' and the other lists designs so I'm guessing at late 18th (Until I get's to the library and the gurt big OED they got there).
What do you look for before the word tattoo is incorperated into English.

It may be the drugs talking but wasn't there talk of medieval shrines doing 'tats' for the pilgrims (right between to the face painting and vegan curry tents.....I'll get me coat)


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Postby wurzul » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:51 am

Thanks for the helpful tips, one and all. They led me to, "Written on the Body, The Tattoo in European and American History", ed. Jane Caplan. Reaktion Books Ltd 2000, ISBN 1 86189 0621.
I'll post here when I've gone through it.



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Postby wurzul » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:46 pm

Written on the body is a collection of scholarly essays looking at tattoos from a historical perspective. It is by the nature of the info episodic, with small windows well explored and huge gaps in between.
Contents:

1. Stigma and Tattoo
2. The Tattoo in the Later Roman Empire and Beyond.
3. Insular Celtic tattooing: History, Myth and Metaphor.
4. Wearing the universe: Symbolic markings in Early Modern England.
5. The Renaissance tattoo.
6. Curiously Marked: Tattooing and Gender Difference in C18th British perceptions of the South Pacific.
7. Godna: Inscribing Indian Convicts in the C19th.
8. Skin Deep Devotions: Religious Tattoos and Convict Transportation to Australia.
9. Body Commodification? Class and Tattoos in Victorian Britain.
10. National tattooing: Traditions of Tattooing in C19th Europe.

Worth a look.



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Postby red razors » Fri Feb 20, 2009 10:20 pm

that sounds really good, something for the library methinks.



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Postby wurzul » Sat Feb 21, 2009 7:41 am

Hraefn wrote:When does the term tattoo first get used in English, Dampier refers to them as 'painted' and the other lists designs so I'm guessing at late 18th (Until I get's to the library and the gurt big OED they got there).
What do you look for before the word tattoo is incorperated into English.

It may be the drugs talking but wasn't there talk of medieval shrines doing 'tats' for the pilgrims (right between to the face painting and vegan curry tents.....I'll get me coat)


Hraefen, The word Tattoo seems to emerge when Europeans encounter the South Pacific- its derived from the Polynesian word tatau (to strike)



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Postby Merlon. » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:01 am

OED shows Tattoo as:-

Forms: 8 tat(t)aow, 8-9 tattow, tatoo, 9 tatto, tatu, 8- tattoo.

a. The act or practice of tattooing the skin (see TATTOO v.2); the mark or design made by tattooing.

[1769 COOK Jrnl. 1st Voy. July (1893) 93 Both sexes paint their Bodys, Tattow, as it is called in their Language. This is done by inlaying the Colour of Black under their skins, in such a manner as to be indelible.] 1777 G. FORSTER Voy. round World I. 390 The punctuation which the natives call tattow. 1803 J. BURNEY Discov. S. Sea I. ii. 61 They [natives of the Philippines] had the custom of marking their bodies in the manner, which, to use a word lately adopted from the language of a people more recently discovered, we call tattow. 1863 R. F. BURTON Abeokuta I. iii. 104 There was a vast variety of tattoos and ornamentation. 1906 Athenæum 17 Mar. 334/2 The Kenyahs and Sea-Dayaks also appear to have borrowed the practice of tatu very largely from the Kenyans; but most of the Indonesian tribes have all had..a distinctive tatu.



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Hraefn
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Postby Hraefn » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:05 pm

Like I said the biggest problem with pre 1760's european tattoos is what do you look for, how do they term the pricking and staining of skin. Dampier calls it 'painted' the Romans use the term vitro, glazed or glass like. ("Omnes vero se Britanni vitro inficiunt, quod caeruleum efficit colorem.") Are they 'tattooing' and WTF do they call it?


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Postby steve stanley » Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:32 am

'Book of Buckskinning VIII' has a good article on 18thcent tattoos...Original & modern repros...........
Steve


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Postby hermann » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:41 am

Hraefn wrote:When does the term tattoo first get used in English, Dampier refers to them as 'painted' and the other lists designs so I'm guessing at late 18th (Until I get's to the library and the gurt big OED they got there).
What do you look for before the word tattoo is incorperated into English.

It may be the drugs talking but wasn't there talk of medieval shrines doing 'tats' for the pilgrims (right between to the face painting and vegan curry tents.....I'll get me coat)

Coptic christians have a long tradition of tattooing pilgrims
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/tattoos/photo7.html



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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:44 am

I think someone experimented with tattooing with woad - and the bottom line was - it don't work. May well have been able to use some sort of mineral based colour, though? But I suspect what the Romans were looking at - were painted, rather than tattooed, people.

Aren't some of those bog people tattooed, though? I forget. We had an interesting time on a 17thC forum trying to persuade a heavily tattooed woman that Capt Cook happened AFTER the English Civil War. :lol:



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Gandi
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Postby Gandi » Wed Feb 25, 2009 1:59 am

Aren't some of those bog people tattooed, though?


yes, as is Otzi the 'iceman' as well as many of the Pazyryk (?) mummies from the Eurasian steppes.

Using charcoal dust as the pigment leads to a blue ish tattoo. The pigment can either be rubbed into the pricked holes or applied by sewing where a sinew coated in charcoal is pulled through the skin using a series of running stitches.....this technique was used a lot by the Eskimo whose mummies were found in Greenland. They have extensive facial and upper thigh tattoos with the female bodies having far more than the males.


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Postby hermann » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:37 am

From Pazyryk
Image
Image
Some of the designs
Image
Image
Image



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Postby Grymm » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:51 pm

steve stanley wrote:'Book of Buckskinning VIII' has a good article on 18thcent tattoos...Original & modern repros...........
Steve


Can you scan'em for me please Steve, $199 for a copy just to look at tats is a bit much for me.


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steve stanley
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Postby steve stanley » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:33 pm

WHAT!!!...I got mine from Dave Ryan for under £20.........


"Give me a tent and a kettle

Snowshoes and axe and gun

Send me up in Grand River

Steering by star and sun".

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red razors
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Postby red razors » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:28 pm

the scythian chieftain also has some tasty pieces
Image
Image



Marcus Woodhouse
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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:39 pm

Bloody hell-i think he drinks down at the Tap 'n' barrel with me when celtic are playing!

I never knew he was that old!


OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

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Grymm
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Postby Grymm » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:58 pm

What, 'tackle out' n all?!


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Re: Tattoos

Postby lanezjones » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:53 am

You must try The Tattoo History Source Book. This is a very good book I feel. You suggest me any other good book about tattoos.




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