Is Art Just Skin Deep?

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Fareed Zakaria

Is Art Just Skin Deep?
By EILEEN FINAN/LONDON Monday, Apr. 22, 2002 Log In with Facebook Sharing TIME stories with friends is easier than ever. Add TIME to your Timeline. Learn More

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Popeye's meant he sailed the Atlantic. Robbie Williams looked to Maori culture for inspiration in choosing his. Winston Churchill's mother discreetly covered hers with a bracelet. All three bear a personal history etched in skin — a practice as old as man, but until recently in Western culture, one that was relegated to sea salts, criminals and whores. Today, the tattoo is undergoing a renaissance such that only the deeply unfashionable remain unmarked. Or so it would seem to a viewer of mtv, where celebs like Pink, Anastacia and Eminem proudly flaunt their skin art.

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"Skin Deep," an exhibition at London's National Maritime Museum that runs through Sept. 30, traces the history of tattooing in modern Western culture from its roots in Polynesia to its trendiness today. "It is definitely more acceptable in Western culture than ever," says curator Karin Buch-Nielsen. "Often you see tattoos as something negative, but we are trying to bring out the positive side of it." Prehistoric man was thought to have practiced tattooing — puncturing the skin with crude tools dipped in pigment that left a permanent mark possibly for therapeutic purposes — and mummies with decorative tattoos have been discovered in many

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as it was hoped no one would dare whip the image of Christ. the Western world got its first glimpse of the intricate designs of the Pacific Islanders. "Tattooing is an example of how a small. "For them it was a completely new thing. areas long linked with criminals and prostitutes. brandishing a tattoo from every port of call was all the rage. and used tattoos to mark slaves and criminals.time. who had a dragon tattooed on his arm in 1882. By the 19th century. it developed a seedy reputation. "It was like how we might buy a little Eiffel Tower or a postcard today. A turtle meant a sailor had crossed the equator. stigma. Despite its deep roots in ancient cultures. for whom the designs were both rite of passage and symbolic protection against the spirit world and earthly enemies.9171.232672. Cook also introduced to the English language the word tattoo. But once tattooists set up shop in bigger cities and the invention of the electric needle made the process less painful. and Albert Nobbs 2 of 4 5/15/2012 10:40 PM .com/time/magazine/article/0. professor of anthropology at Goldsmiths College. like the full-buttock tattooing of the Tahitians and the elaborate face tattooing of New Zealand's Maori tribes. 90% of all U. The fashion extended to women like Jennie Churchill." Buch-Nielsen says. designing mariner motifs of their own." Thomas says. Cook's men didn't fully understand the significance of tattooing among the Oceanic people. In fact. there has been condemnation." Thomas says. a slur still evident in the Latin word for tattoo. who had a serpent on her wrist." Displayed in the museum are early tattooing tools made of bone.S. Soon. "The tattoo parlor wasn't considered a place proper people would venture into." Sailors adopted the practice with gusto. and an exhibition consultant. Navy sailors had tattoos.html parts of the world.00. on display at the museum. an anchor (like Popeye's) that he had sailed the Atlantic. remote society had a tremendously significant impact on European culture. attitudes began to change. they were the first to record the practice systematically. for a short time. This is where "Skin Deep" picks up the tale. "They were like personal souvenirs on their body. Through expedition artist Sydney Parkinson's striking drawings.TIME http://www. "Only in the last 20 years has that Jennifer Lopez Sheer Dress At 'What To Expect' Premiere Is Stunning (PHOTOS) Charlize Theron Kristen Stewart Don Matching Sheer Dresses At 'Snow White' Premiere (PHOTOS) Cannes 2012: 25 Films to Watch 24 Frames: A History of Dictators RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: The Grey. Chronicle. University of London. tattooing had fallen out of practice in Europe by the time Britain's Captain James Cook set sail for the Polynesian Islands in 1768.Is Art Just Skin Deep? ." Buch-Nielsen says." Because tattooing emerged from the underclass of mariner culture and grew in port districts. "This changed the bodies of Europeans in a radical way." says Nicholas Thomas. The sailors were fascinated. Nevertheless. taken from the Tahitian. cut to a jagged edge to puncture the skin — a far cry from today's handheld electric tattooing machines that inject ink into the skin with a fine needle. which mapped family lineage and personal histories. Yet the sailors were eager to be marked themselves. Crucifixion scenes were also popular motifs — a vain attempt to avoid flogging. "They were astonished by the pain that people had to go through. "the dominant associations have always been negative. Though Cook and his men were not the first Europeans to encounter Oceanic tattooing. tattoos became a fad among the upper classes in England. Yet for nearly as long as there has been tattooing. The Romans considered decorative tattooing barbaric. inspired by the Duke of York (later King George V).

Now you get two or three a day. the adoption of hygiene standards and a shift in how we regard the body.valkyrietattoo. LCD Power Supply.com Tattoo Starter Kit $99." And like the tattoos of the Maoris. president of the Tattoo Club of Great Britain. "I've got my girlfriend's name — and I've got a couple of ex-girlfriends' names as well.00. They've thought of the body as a sort of canvas for their own work of art.com/Cell-Phone-Lookup valkyrie tattoo penngrove female owned and operated sterile. Plus Accessories USA! www.time." As for Binnie.9171.com We Recommend Why Obama Deserves to Lose 10 Questions for Julia Louis-Dreyfus Understanding Psychopathic and Sadistic Minds Necrotizing Fasciitis: The Flesh-Eating Disease One Georgia Grad Student Is Fighting From around the Web Dr. It records my way of life.15 Ink. really.232672. I do all sorts of people. Sponsored Links Cell Phone # Finder—Free 1) Lookup By Name Or Cell Number." he says. Having an Arsenal tattoo is a kind of tribal affiliation. friendly.Is Art Just Skin Deep? . "People have be-gun to embrace the notion of changing the body. but they support Arsenal their whole life. the drive to tattoo is little changed. "So. 50 Needles. Weil Q&A) Is ADHD a phony disorder? (Healthcommunities) Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Weren't the Cutest Couple at Lakers Game (PHOTOS) (The Stir By CafeMom) 20 Colleges Not Worth Their Tuition In 2012 (AOL Jobs) recommended by Outbrain [?] PRINT EMAIL REPRINTS SHARE 3 of 4 5/15/2012 10:40 PM . "When I first started tattooing in the early '70s. I've got my kid's name. you might only have two or three women in the shop in the whole year. & Pics Fast! Spokeo. who owns the Into You tattoo studio in London. "We do quite a lot of football badges here.99 4 Machine. Binnie's skin art is more than skin deep." He credits modern tattoo artists who offer custom designs." Today. "A lot of men may divorce and remarry three times." says tattoo artist Alex Binnie. all types of people get tattooed.StarterTattooKit. it's not that different from a Maori warrior.TIME http://www. says Lionel Titchener." Though the art was adopted from distant cultures and adapted to suit Western tastes. 2) Get Name. custom tattoo's! www.com/time/magazine/article/0. Address. Weil's Take on Fish Oil and Omega-3 (Dr.html changed significantly. I've got things that mean things to me. I've tattooed Oxford dons.

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