Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in the Japanese Tattoo (Katie Kitamura and Takahiro Kitamura, 2003)


This unique book by tattoo artist Takahiro Kitamura (Horitaka, a pupil of Horiyoshi III) discusses the art of the Japanese tattoo in the context of Ukiyo-e, concentrating on the parallel histories of the woodblock print and the tattoo. Through high quality illustrations it shows that the Japanese tattoo is highly reliant on and linked to the woodblock print and that it deserves a position among the other art forms. A range of typical ukiyo-e motifs in the Japanese tattoo are discussed and illustrated by the original Japanese prints, and sketches, drawings and tattoos by tattoo master Horiyoshi III. The book ends with a special essay by Don Ed Hardy.


Art, sex and symbol: the mystery of tattooing (R. W. B. Scutt & Christopher Gotch, 1974)

The World of Tattoo (Maarten Hesselt van Dinter, 2005)


Despite a growing fascination with tattooing among social scientists--and the popularity of tattoos themselves in general--the practice of tattooing has lacked a comprehensive historical record. Until very recently, there was no good context for writing a serious world history of tattooing. This new volume conveys the richness of the history of tattooing from antiquity to the present day.
Unlike most other tattoo books that describe one aspect this book conveys the overall picture. It takes you to each of the seven continents with descriptions of their tattoo history and tattoo practices. Thus the book provides the reader with a truly global view of tattooing. It adds new information and new examples and insights that give the reader a new perspective.

By combining empirical history, powerful cultural analysis, and a highly readable style, the author adds an important step to the ongoing effort of writing a meaningful cultural history of tattooing. He does not draw new conclusions or present shocking new theories, but suggests and invites the reader to form his own opinions. This publication presents the reader with a vast amount of textual and visual information. From the well known examples from Tahiti to rarely seen Chinese tattoos, from the Ice Maiden to modern day Western tattoos--they are all there. Many of the approximately 400 color illustrations are unique images that have never been published before.


Tattoo History: a source book (Steve Gilbert, 2000)


The Tattoo History Source Book is an exhaustingly thorough, lavishly illustrated collection of historical records of tattooing throughout the world, from ancient times to the present. Collected together in one place, for the first time, are texts by explorers, journalists, physicians, psychiatrists, anthropologists, scholars, novelists, criminologists, and tattoo artists.

A brief essay by Gilbert sets each chapter in an historical context. Topics covered include the first written records of tattooing by Greek and Roman authors; the dispersal of tattoo designs and techniques throughout Polynesia; the discovery of Polynesian tattooing by European explorers; Japanese tattooing; the first 19th-century European and American tattoo artists; tattooed British royalty; the invention of the tattooing machine; and tattooing in the circus.

The anthology concludes with essays by four prominent contemporary tattoo artists: Tricia Allen, Chuck Eldridge, Lyle Tuttle, and Don Ed Hardy. The references at the end of each section will provide an introduction to the extensive literature that has been inspired by the ancient-but-neglected art of tattooing. Because of its broad historical context, The Tattoo History Source Book will be of interest to the general reader as well as art historians, tattoo fans, neurasthenics, hebephrenics, and cyclothemics.


Pierced hearts and true love; an illustrated history of the origin and development of European tattooing and a survey of its present state (Hanns Ebensten, 1953)

Tattoo Time Magazine (Ed Hardy, 1982)


Tattootime truly changed the world—documents, ideas, and images that have become legendary. Now experience its timeless impact.

Now all five Tattootimes — New Tribalism (1982), Tattoo Magic (1983), Music & Sea Tattoos (1984), Life & Death Tattoos (1987), and Art From the Heart (1991) are in two beautiful hardbound volumes, enclosed in a sturdy slipcase. All contents are from the first edition of each original—subsequent reprints omitted some material. The combined volumes add up to 352 full color pages, plus original covers, and an added 27-page subject and title index to the entire series.


Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body (Arnold Rubin; 1988)


Body piercing, scarification, tattooingfor thousands of years decorative alteration of the human body has been invested with profound cultural and social meaning. This remarkable collection of essays, photographs, and drawings focuses on the many and diverse ways that human beings have permanently decorated their bodies. Marks of Civilization grew out of a symposium entitled "Art of the Body" held at the University of California, Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Contributors encompass the fields of anthropology, sociology, art history, archaeology, and folklore. The geographical and historical perspectives are from Europe and Euro- America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Pacific Basin (Asia, Oceania, and Native America). The book's text and photographs acknowledge body art as a meaningful part of human behavior. What dominates throughout is the recognition of artistic potency, mysterious or commonplace, that is a part of marking the body.


Tattoo: Bodies, Art, and Exchange in the Pacific and the West - History of Tatooing (Eds. Thomas, Nicholas Cole, Anna Douglas, Bronwen; 2005)


The history of tattooing is shrouded in controversy. Citing the Polynesian derivation of the word “tattoo,” many scholars and tattoo enthusiasts have believed that the modern practice of tattooing originated in the Pacific, and specifically in the contacts between Captain Cook’s seamen and the Tahitians. Tattoodemonstrates that while the history of tattooing is far more complex than this, Pacific body arts have provided powerful stimuli to the West intermittently from the eighteenth century to the present day. The essays collected here document the extraordinary, intertwined histories of processes of cultural exchange and Pacific tattoo practices. Art historians, anthropologists, and scholars of Oceania provide a transcultural history of tattooing in and beyond the Pacific.

The contributors examine the contexts in which Pacific tattoos were “discovered” by Europeans, track the history of the tattooing of Europeans visiting the region, and look at how Pacific tattooing was absorbed, revalued, and often suppressed by agents of European colonization. They consider how European art has incorporated tattooing, and they explore contemporary manifestations of Pacific tattoo art, paying particular attention to the different trajectories of Samoan, Tahitian, and Maori tattooing and to the meaning of present-day appropriations of tribal tattoos. New research has uncovered a fascinating visual archive of centuries-old tattoo images, and this richly illustrated volume includes a number of those—many published here for the first time—alongside images of contemporary tattooing in Polynesia and Europe. Tattoo offers a tantalizing glimpse into the plethora of stories and cross-cultural encounters that lie between the blood on a sailor’s backside in the eighteenth century and the hammering of a Samoan tattoo tool in the twenty-first.

Contributors. Peter Brunt, Anna Cole, Anne D’Alleva, Bronwen Douglas, Elena Govor, Makiko Kuwahara, Sean Mallon, Linda Waimarie Nikora, Mohi Rua, Cyril Siorat, Ngahuia Te Awekotuku, Nicholas Thomas, Joanna White


Written on the Body: The Tattoo in European and American History (Editor: Jane Caplan, 2000)

Despite the social sciences' growing fascination with tattooing--and the immense popularity of tattoos themselves--the practice has not left much of a historical record. And, until very recently, there was no good context for writing a serious history of tattooing in the West. This collection exposes, for the first time, the richness of the tattoo's European and American history from antiquity to the present day. In the process, it rescues tattoos from their stereotypical and sensationalized association with criminality.

The tattoo has long hovered in a space between the cosmetic and the punitive. Throughout its history, the status of the tattoo has been complicated by its dual association with slavery and penal practices on the one hand and exotic or forbidden sexuality on the other. The tattoo appears often as an involuntary stigma, sometimes as a self-imposed marker of identity, and occasionally as a beautiful corporal decoration.

This volume analyzes the tattoo's fluctuating, often uncomfortable position from multiple angles. Individual chapters explore fascinating segments of its history--from the metaphorical meanings of tattooing in Celtic society to the class-related commodification of the body in Victorian Britain, from tattooed entertainers in Germany to tattooing and piercing as self-expression in the contemporary United States. But they also accumulate to form an expansive, textured view of permanent bodily modification in the West.

By combining empirical history, powerful cultural analysis, and a highly readable style, this volume both draws on and propels the ongoing effort to write a meaningful cultural history of the body. The contributors, representing several disciplines, have all conducted extensive original research into the Western tattoo. Together, they have produced an unrivalled account of its history. They are, in addition to the editor, Clare Anderson, Susan Benson, James Bradley, Ian Duffield, Juliet Fleming, Alan Govenar, Harriet Guest, Mark Gustafson, C. P. Jones, Charles MacQuarrie, Hamish Maxwell-Stewart, Stephan Oettermann, Jennipher A. Rosecrans, and Abby Schrader.