History of Tattoo Removal
From TheAppendix.net: "Europeans and indigenous Americans being judged at the court of Nature for modifying their bodies, from the frontispiece to John Bulwer's Anthropometamorphosis (London, 1656). Wikimedia Commons."
A perfect follow-up to yesterday's post of a 1902 newspaper feature on tattoos is another wonderful history article, published yesterday in The Appendix, entitled: Indelible Ink: The Deep History of Tattoo Removal. Mairin Odle, a PhD candidate in Atlantic History at NYU, cites texts, from as old as a sixth-century encyclopedia of medicine, that discuss ancient tattoo removal procedures; she also offers stories of frustration over the difficulty in removing permanent markings -- the same frustration people talk of today.
Here's a bit from Odle's text:
By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, documentation of tattoo removal was often found in accounts of Europeans in contact with cultures overseas--particularly, although not exclusively, societies in the New World. The failed effort to remove the English pirate's facial tattoo was not the only attempt at such a procedure in the early modern Atlantic world. A number of French, Spanish, English, and Native American sources suggest that people of the period could regret their permanent body modifications just as much as modern people do.As much as I am a cheerleader for the tattoo community, I think Odle is absolutely correct that the "regret" issue has not really been explored fully when discussing tattoo culture -- beyond the silly tabloid articles. I think this history of tattoo removal article is a great start.
Read more of the article here.
[Thank you, Lindy Hazel LaDue, for the link!]