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The History of Tattooing

The History of Tattooing

by Wilfrid Dyson Hambly


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This 1925 survey constitutes one of the most complete histories of world tattoo practices. It was written at the end of a significant era in anthropological fieldwork, when the efforts of missionaries and the impact of European imperialism had suppressed all but the final vestiges of indigenous native tattoo traditions. Subsequent opportunities for original fieldwork related to tattooing were rare, making this book a valuable link to vanishing cultures.
In addition to 80 photographs and illustrations—many of them new to this edition—this fascinating study discusses the significance of tattoos and other forms of body marking in terms of religious beliefs and social purposes. Author Wilfrid Dyson Hambly offers a wealth of examples from fieldwork conducted around the world. Hambly discusses the religious and magical uses of tattooing, which range from the prevention of pain, protection against witchcraft, and attraction of good luck to the preservation of youth and insurance of the survival of the soul after death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486468129
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 02/19/2009
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

W. D. Hambley was an anthropologist, a noted authority on Africa, and the assistant curator of African Ethnology for the Museum of Natural History of Chicago.

Table of Contents

1. Body Marking in Relation to Religious Beliefs and Practices
2. Body Marking and Magic
3. Body Marking for Social and Anti-Social Purposes
4. Technique of Body Marking
5. Geographical Distribution of Tattooing
6. Historical Distribution of Tattooing

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