Skin & Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor

Tattoo // Friday, 25 Mar 2011
If you happen to be near the sea in Connecticut this weekend, may we suggest checking out something very interesting: Skin & Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor, at Mystic Seaport, or or the Museum of America and the Sea, in Mystic, Connecticut.

As the Museum of America and the Sea notes of the traveling exhibit, "Skin & Bones presents over two centuries of ancient and modern tattooing tools, flash (tattoo design samples), and tattoo-related art, historic photographs, and artifacts to tell the story of how tattoos entered the sailor's life, what they meant, and why they got them.

A tattoo could be a memento of a voyage, a memorial to a lost shipmate, or a talisman to ward off evil spirits. They also had a practical side: tattoos were used to prove identification in event of catastrophe or imprisonment. Regardless of the purpose, the tattoo served to prove the wearer's membership in a maritime brotherhood."

What we find interesting here at Juxtapoz is the span in time Skin & Bones covers. It goes back as far as American Naval tattoos of the late 1700s. There is also a segment on Samuel O'Reilly's revolutionary electric tattoo machine of 1891, which would be a highlight.

The exhibition is on display through September 5, 2011.

via TCR.


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