วันอังคารที่ 20 มกราคม พ.ศ. 2552

Tattoo: An Ancient Art

Tattoo: An Ancient Art

Tattooing is gaining popularity these days. Though the word tattoo is of Polynesian origin, the art was common to many ancient civilizations. Some Egyptian mummies (2000 BC) carry tattoo marks. In India, a stone sculpture of 200 C.E. of Sunga period has tattoo marks on cheeks and chins. Decorating the body with mehandi or mixture of fragrant musk, saffron and sandal paste was very popular in ancient India, but it was temporary. Tattooing was permanent which one carried to graveyard with them.

In India, the tattoos have religious and superstitious significance as well. Women preferred tattooing for the welfare of husband, children etc. Some got to fulfill a vow or against dreaded diseases. But by and large it was to ensure non-widowhood. Cheeks, brows, neck, arms, shoulders, and wrists are the favored parts. Men get tattoos on arms, shoulders and wrists to ensure virility. Among tribals it is a practice to get their entire body tattooed which enabled their bodies to camouflage with forest surroundings: The color of tattoo in India is green or dark green.

Pricking the earmarked place with needles and then filling the pricks in holes with indelible ink (mainly prepared from herbs and carbon) forms the main process. Many castes in India do the job for petty payment. Songs are sung, jokes are told while the pricking agony is born by the person for an hour or more depending on the intricacy of design. The designs could be of snakes, birds (peacock, Garuda, etc.), chariot, sun, moon, trees, flowers, and grains. Tattooing is believed to protect persons against attack of wild beasts and snake bite--hence the use of respective designs.

After continuous pricking and inking, the tattooed part is washed, and turmeric considered antiseptic is applied to wounds. Nowadays, more sophisticated equipment is used for tattooing.

Japanese Tattoo Designs

Tattoos are individual expressions for a lifetime. They can be an affirmation, a bold statement of love, a memorial, a motivational reminder - a personal statement of what truly matters. And this is why it is so important that the design be just right for you.

If you are thinking about a Japanese tattoo then a great place to start is with a reputable catalog that has a wide variety of styles and options. By knowing what is possible, you can get a much better feel for what appeals to you personally and perhaps even find a design that says exactly what you want to say with a look that fits your style.

At StockKanji - Japanese Tattoo Designs we have over 5000 Japanese Tattoo Designs and more are being added everyday. Each Japanese Tattoo is personally hand-lettered by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase and can be immediately purchased and downloaded when you find the design that is just right for you. And with your purchase you get everything you need, including the line art, to take to your tattoo artist to have the tattoo properly inked.

This catalog of Japanese tattoo designs offers hundreds of options for names, words and phrases. Each coming in several different fonts and styles - this way you can get the meaning you want with a look that fits your style. As an example, below we show three of the seventeen designs for the maxim True Victory is Victory Over Oneself.

The Block (kaisho) Script is what one most commonly sees for Japanese Kanji Tattoos. Though other fonts are popular once people see the range of what is possible with Japanese. Dave Beckham's Tattoo on his ribs uses a cursive font and while difficult for people to read this is an elegant and flowing script. Japanese has many different fonts and, at the hand of a master, the possibilities are infinite.

The Tao of the Tattoo

TurkeyLet me introduce you to Peter McBride.

He’s an idiot.

You know Polo shirts have that Polo pony logo on the chest, right? Well, McBride got that logo tattooed — on his chest.

That’s alright McBride, you’re dumb, you can’t help it. At 22, I was pretty fucking stupid, too. Actually, I’m still not very bright, but even at your age I wouldn’t do some stupid, regrettable-in-a-few-years shit like that.

In fact, I absolutely didn’t.

See, I think tattoos are cool. Did then, do now.

I mean they were once something only convicts or bikers or enlisted men got. Then they got a broader following with regular blue collar guys getting them, then white collar weekend warrior types started getting inked.

Nowadays, the soccer mom next door has a three-inch wide butterfly tat just above the crack of her ass at the thongline and it ain’t no thang. Well, it probably adds to the fantasies of the local adolescencia or the puberati but that’s besides the point.

But here’s my thing. I can’t abide dumb tattoos. Just can’t. That includes tattoos that are dumb in size (a quarter inch square is not a tattoo, but an elective birthmark), dumb in placement (the underside of your second toe on your right foot is just genius) and especially dumb in content.

If you’ve never gotten a tat, then lemme tell you. Depending on location, size and complexity, a tattoo can hurt like hell and it puts a goodly amount of stress on the body. It’s also as permanent as any markings on your skin that occur naturally or more so. It’s easy for Dr. Scalpy McGoodskin to lop off that hairy mole on your ass — but a 5″ x 9″ Woody Woodpecker in Technicolor? Not so easy to erase.

So just like that old knight dude said in the last Indiana Jones movie: “Choose wisely.”

When I got my first tattoo, I thought about it. And dwelled upon it. Then researched it. Then I went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Twice. And looked at an exhibit of it. And I sketched it. Then I altered the image. Personalized it. Then I took my sketches back to my dorm. And drew and redrew, made it even more my own and gave it to the tattoo artist. He made suggestions, traced the 90% from my sketch I liked and added his 10% in his improvements and then and only then did we apply ink to needle and needle to skin.

Here it is:

Mind you this tat has never been touched up, the pic is a little blurry and the tat itself is — holy hell, I’m freakin old — 14 years old. But what’s most important, it tells a story:

Anubis is the Egyptian god of judgment of the dead. A mouthful but check out what that means. In Egyptian spirituality/religion when you die, you go before all the gods. Osiris, Set, Isis, Hathor — man, every deity that’s any deity is there. Very formal — very exclusive.

A-list all the way.

And they’re there to hear you confess. Now it ain’t like Catholic confession where you say all the foul shit you’re sorry for and beg forgiveness. Hell no, here you tell all the gods all the bad shit you didn’t do! You never stole, you never murdered, all that stuff that makes you look good.

But they didn’t just take your word for it. No, sir. When you were done reverse-confessing, Anubis took your heart and put it on a scale. On the other side would be The Feather of Truth.

If you neglected to tell the gods some evil you did — what happens in Cairo doesn’t stay in Cairo, my friend — then by not mentioning it, your heart would literally be laden with guilt. And that guilt would make your heart heavier than the feather. If Anubis reported that that was the case, they took your heart and fed it to an ugly part crocodile, part lion, and part hippopotamus mofo named Ammit (Eater of Hearts) who grubbed down on it like a BK Stacker. If he did, welcome to Oblivion — we don’t got fun and games. In fact, all we got is nothingness.

Now if your heart weighed as much as or less than the feather, then you’re ushered behind the velvet ropes where you’re treated to the ancient Egyptian equivalent of free bottle service, lap dances and an anything goes champagne room forever and ever.

My tattoo is all about that — and all about me. Like a dream, everything about my tattoo is, appropriately, about me. So I’m Anubis, and I am my own judge. See my heart there? Note how it isn’t touching the hand. It’s floating, which means its lighter than air. Doesn’t mean I’m an angel, but it does mean I have no guilt. See The Feather of Truth and how it’s held aloft? That’s a goal, an aspiration, a commitment to in all things be truthful. Not nice, not civil, not hateful — just truthful. The rest will follow.

See. That’s a freakin tattoo. That tells a story. Getting a corporate logo permanently etched on your skin with your big motivation and thought process being that you saw it on the dude’s shirt in front of you… moronic.

A tattoo of a barcode. Cool.

The chinese symbol for crisis which is “danger” and “opportunity” adjacent to some lovely cleavage — excellent.

A tattoo of the words “The plane! The plane!” — awesome.

I appreciate art, social and political statements, poetry, sarcasm, wit and irony.

McBride’s tattoo represents none of these. The Polo pony is just a marketing tool.

But I guess one good tool deserves another.

Angel Tattoo

Angel tattoos are probably one of the most requested tattoo designs today. From a simple design to complex wings and hands, angels come in all shapes, forms and sizes. People generally request an angel tattoo due to their deep and spiritual meaning. Angels can be seen as a connection between life and death, the struggle between good and evil and a messenger and guardian of God.

sitting angel tattoo sketch

Angel tattoos are often seen upon people who are religious believers, particularly Christianity, however Islam and Judaism also have angels, amongst other religions. Angels may also be seen on people who have lost a loved one and believe this person is now an angel.

Finally, due to their protective characteristics, many opt to get an angel tattoo as a form of protection for themselves, as a guardian to look over them.

Angel tattoos are certainly not a fad and will definately be a tattoo design that is around for a long time to come.

Dragon Tattoos

Peek at the Story behind the story of Dragon Tattoos

Greetings young grasshopper! Today’s lesson will deal with the mystical world of the Dragon tattoo. The myth of the dragon originated hundreds of years ago in the Orient—in China. The dragon is an all-powerful, indomitable, mysterious and magical entity that pervades Chinese culture, tradition and folklore. However, in comparison the western world sees the dragon as a destructive, menace to mankind. Fear and dread are often associated with the dragon as a result and there have also been heretic cults who actually worshipped the dragon. We should honestly watch less tv!

Nothing could be further from the truth for the Chinese. The Asiatic dragon is seen to be the messenger of peace, good will, intelligence, generosity and compassion. There is none of that fire-breathing, man-eating, blood fest that sprang from European cultural beliefs. So you don’t need to worry about tattooing a dragon slayer along with your Oriental dragon!

Now you’d probably want to know the predominant types of Chinese dragon tattoos and the ideals they each symbolize. The Celestial Dragon is an awe-inspiring creature that bestows the armor of God upon the individual. He is the ruler of the dragons but is humble enough to transports you personally to the Heavens in the afterlife. Now take a moment to picture the guy you would dread to meet in a dark alleyway. Yeah, you wouldn’t want to mess with him after seeing his Horned Dragon Tattoo. The Horned variant is widely known to be the most powerful and fierce dragon known to mankind!

You could also go with the Earth dragon that nestles in Heaven during spring and slips into the seas during Autumn. The Earth dragon tattoo reinforces your control over the element of water across the globe. If bling is your thing then you gotta go for the Treasure Dragon tattoo. This dragon is the preserver of all precious metals and jewels.

However, if none of them fit the bill then you’re probably the wild child that runs like the wind. You could opt for the volatile, uncontrollable Spiritual Dragon that reigns over the air currents and rainfall. On the other hand, you could choose the Coiling dragon that lies silently beneath the waves of the sea. They say that knowledge is power. Frankly speaking, our lives would remain incomplete without the wisdom that has gradually filtered down through the ages. The wisest of the dragon tattoos is that of the Yellow dragon that represents scholarly knowledge. Last but not least, we have the Winged dragon that breaks the mortal confines of the Earth and soars into the skies. Set yourself free!

In the case of men, the dragon tattoo stands for a subconscious strength, wisdom, beauty and knowledge. It also announces his presence while underlining varied attributes like style, courage, warrior ability, unpredictability or even his control over water. Most of all, the dragon tattoo doesn’t recognize fear, purports the killer instinct and is the mark of a survivor.

Alternatively, the dragon propagates a different set of ideals in women. A female dragon is a hothead, a spitfire and yet she is self-sufficient, cunning, sly or even down right dirty. She is skilled, experienced and knowledgeable. Noble ideals of fidelity, confidence, strength and an all-encompassing protective aura surround all her relationships building an unshakable sense of security.

You have learnt well young grasshopper, you are now ready to unleash the dragon within.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the first volume of the Millennium Trilogy, the novels that a journalist called Stieg Larsson delivered to a Swedish publisher only a short time before he died. When Ali Karim rang to tell me about it, saying that he read it over two days and it has left an impression on him, I thought to find out more, not just about the book but also on the author.

These novels have become a phenomenon in Scandinavia and are one by one soaring into the bestseller lists in Europe. Larsson, renowned in Sweden as a campaigning journalist, sent his first novel to Norstedts only after several of his friends who had read them urged him to do so. He arrived with three, each one of them a substantial typescript. He died of a massive heart attack before the first one was published.

He was a political journalist and graphics specialist for 20 years at a Swedish news agency and he worked tirelessly, long hours into every night, for an organisation called Expo, fighting fascism and racism in Sweden and Europe. He lectured at inter-government seminars in Brussels, he contributed over many years to the campaigning British magazine Searchlight. He answered every call from victims of racism and anti-Semitic harassment and violence. He went to schools to help children who were being racially bullied, talked to the headmistress, talked to classes, told the victims that he was available at any time to come back, if need be.

In the 1990s he and his partner of many years were targeted by neo-fascists. They were for a long time forced to live a life of acute anxiety. Their names were published and their address. Another man, similarly targeted, was murdered -- under the noses of a police surveillance team. And yet Larsson never stopped making his encyclopaedic knowledge of the Swedish and international far right available to everyone who needed to learn from it.

It is no wonder that it was an amazement even to his friends that he had had time to write novels -- where was his spare time? But Stieg Larsson himself was a phenomenon. He had seriously contemplated writing crime stories in English, he knew the genre backwards, was in correspondence with some of its best authors. He would have rejoiced that The Girl Who Played With Fire, the second volume of the trilogy, was awarded the "Glass Key", the prize given to the best crime novel published in Scandinavia.

The only fragment of his huge success that the author knew was the deal his publisher made with Heyne in Germany, for a huge advance. He was 50. It gave him, he decided, the opportunity to change his punishing way of life, and also the chance to put money into Expo.

The original title of the first volume of the trilogy was (and in Sweden is) Men Who Hated Women. Larsson fought discrimination on many fronts in his life and the abuse of women he especially loathed. It is at the heart of two of the novels, and it is the inspiration of the heroine of the trilogy, a magnificent fictional creation, Lisbeth Salander. Salander is the driving force of a narrative that is brilliant, gripping, and utterly original. It is appallingly violent without once, it seems to me, being gratuitous. My guess is that many more women than men have bought the books. Salander in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is in her early twenties, delinquent, a ward of court, freelancing for a security company. She is a computer wizard (self-taught), a kick-boxer, fearless, dysfunctional, bisexual, mortally thin and terrifying if roused.

Who has bought them?

2.1 million copies sold in Sweden* (the paperback of Volume III is not yet released). 50,000 copies were subscribed of the audiobook of Volume III a month before the book publication -- a remarkable symptom of the impatience of Swedish readers of the trilogy. 121,200 audiobooks have been sold in total of the three volumes.

Denmark*: 500,000 copies sold. The hardback of Volume III has only just been published in an initial print-run of 110,000 copies which sold out in two days. The publisher, Modtryk, says that only the Bible has sold more copies than Larsson's books in Denmark .

Norway*: 333,600 copies sold so far of Volume I (h/b and pb) and volume II (h/b only to date). Volume III is to be published in November. It was due to be published in March '08 and brought forward to November ‘07 due to pressure from readers and because of the dramatic level of sales of the Swedish edition in Norway .

Germany : 150,000 copies sold so far of Volume I (h/b and pb) and the h/b of Volume II.

France: 207,000 copies have been sold of all three books. Actes Sud now selling approx 3,000 and 4,000 copies of Larsson books every day.

Not forgetting Sonny Mehta of Knopf in the US, who beat off five other publishers for this extraordinary trilogy with a high six figure offer.

* Sweden population 9 million, Denmark 5.5, Norway 4.6.

“Over time I have published David Morrell's FIRST BLOOD (which became "Rambo"), Martin Cruz Smith's GORKY PARK and his unforgettable Arkady Renko, Peter Høeg's MISS SMILLA'S FEELING FOR SNOW, and the Gold Dagger-winning crime novels of Henning Mankell, Arnaldur Indridason and Fred Vargas. The sales of the Millennium Trilogy in Sweden far exceed the fabulous successes of these wonderful storytellers and their central characters and in part this has to be due to what is going in the English-speaking world too to become the Lisbeth Salander cult. She is one of two central characters in the trilogy. The other is the journalist Mikael Blomkvist of the magazine Millennium, a crusading publication that surely has echoes from Larsson's own working life. One Swedish publisher told me that he believed that everything in the trilogy, the sex trafficking investigations, the murder investigations, the financial chicanery had a root in fact. Every Swedish publisher I have met in the last months has been -- and this is as interesting as it is unusual in the jealous world that is publishing -- unstinting in their praise for the novels. Every one of them has read them or listened to the tapes. There is perhaps no more reliable recommendation.”

Christopher MacLehose

The Swedish film production company Yellowbird, will be producing the film version of the Millennium Trilogy. Shooting will begin in March 2008 and they hope to finish by December 2008, with the aim of having them ready for release in all Scandinavian countries in the beginning of 2009. They will then run on Swedish television by Nov/Dec 2009. The DVD version will have multiple language sub-titles (mainly Scandinavian languages and possibly another featuring English sub-titles). The main cast features Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander and Michael Nyqvist as Mikael Blomkvist. There is also interest from different producers in France and the US for the English production rights, but these have not been sold yet.

Tattoo Removal

Once upon a time I drank so much tequila that I lost track of ... what's that called ... consciousness. Next morning, I couldn't remember a thing.

Fortunately, the tattoo would jar my memory.

The "tribal band" circled my left bicep like a serial bee sting, the om symbol thirteen times. Om is supposed to reveal the fleeting nature of reality. I had decided to honor it with a PERMANENT MARK.

Every tattoo should say the same thing -- "I'm an idiot." That way, when you wake up ten years later and wonder what you were thinking, the answer is right there.

So, yes, all these years after The Tequila Incident, I decided to zap the tattoo.

Dr. Seuss warned me about this way back in kindergarten. The Sneetches, you see, wanted stars on their bellies until everyone else got stars on their bellies and then they all just wanted to be the way they were. That's when Sylvester McMonkey McBean stepped in with his star-off machine.

"I'll make you again the best Sneetches on beaches, and all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches."

These days tattoo removal costs more than ten dollars eaches. Let's just say that you could see a sizable chunk of this world and, depending on the ruble, possibly others.