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Ridge's Foods advertisement. The Sketch, August 2 nd 1893, p. 44. Cardiff University Library: Special Collections and Archives.

Ridge's Foods advertisement. The Sketch, August 2 nd 1893, p. 44. Cardiff University Library: Special Collections and Archives.

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On the 24th of July 1901, a young man by the name of Fromain was taken into police custody, stripped naked and photographed by French police officials. Where exactly this photograph was taken, and by whom, is not known; nor is there any record of Fromain's first name, date of birth, or crime. In the archives of the préfecture de police in Paris, wh...

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... then, this was a portrait of his child, or a young family member whom he held dear? In fact, neither supposition is correct; the source of inspiration for this portrait that occupies pride of place over the right side of the tattooed man's chest is drawn from a print advertisement for Ridge's Patent Cooked Food infant formula milk, published in the British illustrated newspaper weekly The Sketch in 1893 (Figure 8). The correspondence between the preserved tattoo and the printed advertisement is not approximate, but exact: Whilst the drying and shrinkage of the skin has distorted the child's face somewhat in the preserved specimen, her features, proportions, clothing, pose and the large urn against which she leans, are all faithfully reproduced by a skilled tattooist -very likely an early professional -working with hand- needles. ...

Citations

... The man had originally been photographed at the time of an arrest by the superintendent of police in Paris, Jacques Delarue, who later published a book of criminological interpretations. 45 In the prevailing spirit of criminological attitudes of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Delarue was insistent that the man's body could be read as a text, and that doing so would reveal, for example, that the face upon his breast was that of his true love. Delarue interpreted the picture as that of an adult woman, perhaps his wife. ...
Chapter
Tattooing in the West has long been of great interest to scholars from a range of academic disciplines, including anthropology, criminology, and psychology, as well as to philosophers and theorists. In this chapter, I argue that these approaches are almost all flawed in various ways, as they develop their accounts on the back of historical sources and modern misconceptions which are partial, error-strewn, and in several key cases outright fabrications. Theoretical accounts which purport to think about who has been tattooed, in what circumstances, with what images, to what effect and for what reasons almost all undertake their theoretical work quixotically, tilting at an understanding of the practice and the industry of tattooing which is fundamentally misguided. To attempt to provide a new bedrock upon which scholars in these diverse disciplines can realign future work, I propose here the outlines of a methodological proposition for thinking about Western tattooing as a historically contingent artistic practice, in which tattoo artists and the images they produce are foregrounded, and in which longstanding misconceptions about the historical trajectories of tattooing can begin to be corrected. I argue for the importance of primary source historical work in private collections; for a mode of analysis which understands tattooing as a medium and not a phenomenon; and ultimately for the utility of scholarship from art historians and art theorists on the production and reception of images in more traditional media to the studying of tattooing in Western contexts.
... The general style of the tattoo motifs is analogous to published examples dating from the later nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century (Lombroso 1876-1897, Lacassagne 1881, Bertillon 1885, Angel 2015, 2017. Some of the tattoos are obviously 'hand-poked', a relatively slow process where simple images were scratched or 'pricked' into the skin using pigment-dipped needles in a naïve style that implies the work of an amateur. ...
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‘Anthropologies of the Body’ often view the human form as a sort of text, onto which meanings and experiences are inscribed during people’s lives, rendering the body effectively as an artefact of material culture. Such ‘inscription’ is generally metaphorical; however, in the case of tattooing, aspects of the way people wish to be perceived are quite literally inscribed upon the body. The current article presents analysis of an unusual ‘artefact’ in the form of the major anterior portion of the preserved, tattooed skin of an adult male. The skin’s provenance was previously unknown, as was the reason why he had been subject to such treatment after death. The current project has progressed towards resolving these issues using multiple approaches, including CT scanning, multispectral light sources, infrared reflectography and spectroscopic dating. The latter technique produced a date range of 1861 ±15 years for the wood on which the skin was mounted. Multispectral and infrared light examination made it possible to discern many of the tattooed motifs much more clearly. The images and text that were made visible suggested this man had been French and had probably spent time overseas, possibly in naval service. Towards the end of his life, he may have been imprisoned and the date ‘1883’ was decipherable. The current analysis allowed the investigators to glean far more information than was initially expected, providing a considerably richer personal narrative of this individual through the content of his tattoos than is usually possible in biological anthropology.
... With the exception of some notable contributions to anatomical museums and thanatology scholarship respectively (Alberti et al., 2009;Krmpotich et al., 2010;Harries et al., 2018), curators in the UK have reached uneven agreement on if and how human remains in museum collections should be accessed, and by whom. Very few sources, with the exception of Angel's visual and material anthropology (see Angel, 2013Angel, , 2015Angel, , 2016, discuss the potentially productive aspects of encountering human remains in museums. However, a general 'consensus through practice' suggests that special consideration should always be given to what motivates the decision to display human remains, particularly those acquired from indigenous cultures, and/or where provenance is unclear; and that such decisions should be sensitively and informatively framed through interpretive material. ...
Article
This paper describes the 3D facial depiction of a 2700-year-old mummy, Ta-Kush, stewarded by Maidstone Museum, UK, informed by new scientific and visual analysis which demanded a complete re-evaluation of her biography and presentation. This paper describes the digital haptic reconstruction and visualisation workflow used to reconstruct her facial morphology, in the context of the multimodal and participatory approach taken by the museum in the complete redesign of the galleries in which the mummy is displayed. Informed by contemporary approaches to working with human remains in heritage spaces, we suggest that our virtual modelling methodology finds a logical conclusion in the presentation of the depiction both as a touch-object as well as a digital animation, and that this ‘digital unshelving’ enables the further rehumanization of Ta-Kush. Finally, we present and reflect upon visitor feedback, which suggests that audiences respond well to interpretive material in museums that utilizes cutting-edge, multimedia technologies.
... In contrast, some forms of Polynesian tattooing operate as a rite of passage and, against this backdrop, the mark acts as a memento of the wounding process and the ability to endure (Sweetman 1999). Specifically in a Samoan context, the emphasis is placed on healing and the ability of the body to complete the tattoo (Angel 2015). Because it is a matter of emphasis, while Western tattooing does focus in on the design of the tattoo, "even the most playful and ironic of contemporary tattoos retain an echo of the pain involved in their acquisition", (Sweetman 1999, 65). ...
Article
Full-text available
The tattoo may be considered iconic in terms of its ability to reflect and contribute to consumer culture. It encapsulates contemporary tensions between the paradigm of plasticity that has engulfed the body and skin and a disavowal of that paradigm by marking the body in a permanent fashion. Tattoos also manage to articulate discourses of deviance and the mainstream, difference and sameness. Further, the “invariant processual contour” of tattoo remains the same across cultures and histories while also managing to evidence differences in emphasis. Similarly, the functions of tattoo in terms of decoration, ritual, identification, and protection continue to trace the boundaries of their possibilities. Ultimately, in a culture that values individuality, these coordinates of tattoo offer a clear opportunity to (re)story the self in infinitely customizable ways.
Article
The tattoo may be considered iconic in terms of its ability to reflect and contribute to consumer culture. It encapsulates contemporary tensions between the paradigm of plasticity that has engulfed the body and skin and a disavowal of that paradigm by marking the body in a permanent fashion. Tattoos also manage to articulate discourses of deviance and the mainstream, difference and sameness. Further, the “invariant processual contour” of tattoo remains the same across cultures and histories while also managing to evidence differences in emphasis. Similarly, the functions of tattoo in terms of decoration, ritual, identification, and protection continue to trace the boundaries of their possibilities. Ultimately, in a culture that values individuality, these coordinates of tattoo offer a clear opportunity to (re)story the self in infinitely customizable ways.