LeapZipBlog: J Wu's blog: From Punishment to Reception: The History of French Tattoos

From Punishment to Reception: The History of French Tattoos

October 31, 2019 by J Wu  

Millions of people from different borders, classes and culture have modified their bodies with ink. Although many people are fascinated by the aesthetic value of tattoos, few people are interested in the ups and downs of the history of tattoo development. The French tattoo history is a colorful classic case that shows how attitudes to tattoos have changed over the centuries.
Since the 16th century, French voyagers have seen a variety of body art from the South Pacific to the Americas. In the eyes of some French observers, these people are “original” outsiders “civilizations” and their tattoos were just tribal cultures. Others, especially sailor tattoos, were inspired by their journey. By the turn of the 19th century, "tattoos" had a common name in Europe, such as tatouages, Tatowiren or tattoos.
tattoo history
In the 19th century in France, the authorities began to use tattoos to mark a different "marginal person": the criminal. In 1832, the French criminals ended the era of marking criminals with a soldering iron and instead used tattoo marks to identify them.
Tattoos are visual markers for criminals to succumb to legal authority. But this is also a violation of human rights. In Christian religious culture, as Jane Kaplan pointed out, body markings are regarded as evidence of paganism. When the needle penetrates the prisoner's skin, it symbolically takes away the sanctity of their body. The soldering iron punishes the body, but the tattoo punishes the soul.
French tattoo history
However, when prisoners were tattooed, they have tattoos and even developed more aesthetic designs. The popularity of male tattoos in French criminal colonies and military prisons make them become another group symbol in the late 19th century.
In a photographic article, Jerome Pieirat and Eric Guillaume show how tattooing can be a compelling means of rebellious society, from the French underworld of the Virgin Mary. For some people, the "bad boy" of these tattoos has a certain exoticism, the tattoo of the Edith Piaf or the popularity of Papillon, a fantasy "memoir" of the former criminal Henri Charrière published in 1969. In this book, the protagonist's nickname comes from the butterfly - Papillon - tattoo on the chest: when he tries to escape from prison, this was a symbol of hope and freedom.
Since then, individuals and groups have continued to choose needles and inks as tools to litigate to the courts while expressing themselves with art.
French tattoo history
Tattoo as a symbol of the group
The late development of tattoos is an art of group symbolism. People use tattoos to build circles, from military groups, brotherhoods to locomotive parties. Tattoos convey something about the "edge" between yourself and the rest of the world. For some people, they are associated with mystery and darkness in the heart.
In view of the recent semitone program in English-speaking countries, this is a typical representative, and the semicolon tattoos have become a symbol of unity and encouragement with people suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. Some commentators believe that the campaign is a short-lived trend and that dissemination through the hashtag has little effect on promoting the autonomy involved. But it seems to be.
The project semicolon has been popular with Twitter users, but it is not hype. Like many of their tattoo predecessors, what the participants take may be initially marked as "support " status, as well as a self-selected "LOGO" and collective hope statement.
As the French case shows, tattoos are firmly engraved in the history of modern culture. Nowadays, tattoos have become an accepted art act, and even shine in public welfare, becoming a fashion trend culture that transcends subculture.
French tattoo history


Reprinted from this blog: https://wormholetattoosupply.com/blogs/news