What Culture Has The Coolest Tattoos?

What Culture Has The Coolest Tattoos?

Ooooh! I want to say…

Maori: moko, traditionally etched on the skin using a chisel to prick or carve before applying the paint

(image from Bei den Kauri-Bäumen auf der Nordinsel Neuseelands )

(image from Male & Female Moko )

but then there’s…

Japanese: (specifically the Yakuza subculture) the traditional irezumi bodysuit, favoured by the Yakuza, can fully be covered up by clothes -it’s meant to not show beyond the edges of a suit

(images from Yakuza Tattoos: Japanese Gang Members wear the Culture of Crime )

not to mention…

Russian: (specifically the highly complex iconography of Russian prison tattoos) Russian inmate tattoos can symbolise not only a prisoner’s crimes, but also other aspects of themselves. For instance:

(image from The coded world of Russian prison tattoos)

Snake around the neck: suggests drug addiction


(from The Visual Encyclopedia of Russian Prison Tattoos | VICE | United States )

Eyes on the stomach: suggests homosexuality


And of course we can’t leave out…

Samoan: the mispronounced Samoan word for tattoo, tatau, is apparently where we get the word ‘tattoo’ from

 . Master tattooists, tufuga ta tatau, still use traditional tools for these tattoos


(from traditional - TATAU SAMOA )

I imagine that by ‘culture’ you meant people who share a common ethnicity, or belong to the same tribe. And, traditionally, that was certainly the case. But the thing about different subsets of tattoo culture is that they tend to evolve and be shared by groups of people for reasons beyond ethnicity/a common background.

Which is cool :)

Reading next

Why do people get tattoos?
Why Are Tattoos So Expensive?

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