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Tattoos through Time: Local Ink

The Field Museum's New Exhibit, Tattoo

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Courtesy of google.com Free Use

Courtesy of google.com Free Use

Courtesy of google.com Free Use

Caira Watson, Senior Writer

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       The Field Museum has a new exhibit, Tattoo, that will be on display until April 30, 2017 that explores the rich history of tattoos. The exhibit portrays and explains the history of tattoos, the connection between ancient tattoos to modern ones, and the progression of technology and various techniques used.

       This exhibit draws inspiration from musée de quai Branly in Paris. It stays true to the Field Museum’s culture by being informative, but adjusts well to the Tattoo exhibit by giving it an art gallery feel. Tattoo is full of stunning photography, fantastic ancient artifacts, and amazing tattoo work done on life size mannequins.

       A surprise at the end of the exhibit is that instead of having a souvenir shop, it houses a fully functioning tattoo shop! One can choose from roughly 30 different pre-designed styles to get done by a master artist.

       Tattoo does an amazing job of highlighting the true art that is behind tattooing. Tattoo is a must see for all. Basic admission to the Field Museum is $19, but to have access to this exhibit it will be a total of $31.

       This exhibit focuses on many cultures where tattoos are important. One is the Maori, indigenous people to New Zealand. The Maori people consider the head to be the most sacred part of the body, so the head is the most tattooed part of the body. The facial tattoo is composed of curved shapes and spiral like patterns.

A unique quality about tattoos is that their meaning and techniques vary across cultures. In the Buddhist Culture,  the Mandela tattoo represents eternity, completion and the universe. In China, tattoos date back to 3000 B.C., the most popular design is the Kanji, it symbolizes love, prosperity, blessing and beauty. In India, the most popular form of body art is henna. Henna used to be strictly a marriage ritual but in recent times has become a matter of choice. What is unique about tattoos in Thailand is not only the designs, but also the matter of tattooing. The process requires bamboo rods with ink hand taped into the skin. While this process sounds painful, it is one of the least painful tattoos but is the most time consuming. Mexican tattoos are influenced by important parts of Mexico’s history, politics and religious heritage.

      In all cultures, the practice of tattooing includes symbols and designs that represent a sense of pride regarding their roots.

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Tattoos through Time: Local Ink