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Tattoos are frequent to numerous cultures and durations of historical past, along with being thought-about The Rembrandt of the Poor by the artist Henk Schiffmacher (68 years outdated), who after a number of a long time touring and amassing these cautious ornamentation of the pores and skin, presents his personal encyclopedia on this historic artwork.

“The outstanding factor about tattooing is that it travels by means of totally different nations and ranges of society. It goes from artists to criminals, prostitutes and thieves to kings, to return to the artists once more “, explains the artist, tattoo artist and collector Schiffmacher about his work, a compendium of strategies, connotations and tales from the world of tattoos, of which he turned a passionate chronicler.

“Gathering tattoos is for many people the one strategy to be a part of historical past,” explains Schiffmacher, who they’re for “the start of man’s inventive intuition“, whose origins return 3,500 years in the past, estimated age of the Otzi’s mummy, discovered within the Alps with a complete of 61 traces tattooed on the physique.

Couple with matching tattoos: her, a date; him, a bow.


A graphic and literary journey by means of the historical past of tattoos, that is proper Tattoo. 1730s-1970s. Henk Schiffmacher’s non-public assortment (Taschen). This bible on the self-discipline of tattoos, covers the geography and historical past of one of many types of “oldest inventive intuition of the human being“, whose strategies lengthen from Japan to Malaysia, Egypt and the Western world.

Tribal tattoos, Japanese historic artwork, The age of exhibitionism, Born to struggle Y The nice lifeare the chapters that make up this visible and literary encyclopedia on the artwork of tattooing and its meanings. Schiffmacher, composes this guide of tales and images about strategies, tattooists, utensils and connotations that the world of tattoos has acquired over time.

That is the way it began

“There has at all times been part of me that was like a magpie, that chook that’s made with all the things that shines”, reads the start of the guide, which coincides with the start of its creator on this planet of fascination for amassing and tattoos in full years 70, date of “tattoo renaissance“and the idea for his or her standardization.

“I started to gather the historical past of tattoos earlier than I received the primary one, I needed to know what they had been and the place they got here from,” says the creator, who determined to depart his native Harderwijk, within the Netherlands, to maneuver to Amsterdam, the place he immerses himself on this world: “If you wish to tattoo, you additionally tattoo your self, you give your complete physique for it“, he tells about this time, the prelude to his travels around the globe to seize totally different images and strategies of the sort of artwork, which is” a world language “.

Back tattooed with floral motifs.

Again tattooed with floral motifs.


From marking a standing of hierarchy within the Maori tribes in Samoa to the magical powers attributed to them in historic Egypt, passing from being an indicator of criminals and thieves in Japan to finish up returning to combine into western standard tradition, tattoos are the frequent card of various civilizations and time bands.

After years of researching on the topic, Schiffmacher thinks that “they are saying extra about an individual than anything”, and finds its higher want is that “in the future Unesco will embody the standard tattoo within the record of intangible property heritage of humanity“, he explains all through its pages, after a life devoted to learning the sort of artwork.

The significance of Japan

“I preserve a tattooed pores and skin of an individual from 150 years in the past: she is gone, however her tattoos proceed to speak day by day,” he explains a few small a part of his in depth pattern, the results of a frequent observe in Japan why folks with the physique tattooed on irezumi or conventional Japanese artwork, donated their pores and skin upon demise.

A method of tattooing that turns into an indicator of Japanese tattoos, and that along with the drawing approach uki-yo, pushed by the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi and that the creator defines “as if Rembrandt had painted Marvel superheroes by means of tattoos”, make Japan one other key level within the geography of this artwork, which the creator breaks down and particulars in his pages.

Butterfly tattooed on the upper arm.

Butterfly tattooed on the higher arm.


After a long time devoted to archiving and amassing graphic paperwork, the important thing lies for the creator in “The ability of photos“that tattoos challenge by means of this”easy communication language“, legitimate anyplace on this planet since primitive occasions, by which” the primary tattoos already revealed the human want for expression by means of artwork. “

In a compendium of greater than 4 hundred pages by which “the photographs inform their very own tales”, Schiffmacher thus turns into a tattoo chronicler by means of his in depth assortment, with which he makes “a tribute to the traditional world of tattooing” as an inventive hyperlink between totally different cultures and durations of historical past.

[Más información: El significado que hay detrás del tatuaje de punto y coma]



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