Tattoo art in Japan has a long tradition. Increasingly popular both here and Asia, it links art history with modern youth cultures and subcultures.
This summer’s exhibition on tattoos and tattoo art has been produced by the East Asian Museum. The exhibition is primarily made up of colour photographs of tattoos that the Master Horiyoshi III (Yoshihito Nakano) from Yokohama has done.
Recently taken photographs by the American photographer Juan Puente show full-body tattoos by the modern Japanese master Horiyoshi III. Motifs include dragons, tigers, peonies, carp, and historic settings. Like the tattoo masters before him, Horiyoshi III takes inspiration and iconography from woodcarvings and other art and handcrafts.
The exhibit also explains the historic background to the magnificent full-body tattoos that began to take form during the Edo period (1603-1868). Reproductions of woodcarvings and pictures of objects from the East Asian Museum and the Yokohama Tattoo Museum’s collections are also displayed.
As a companion to the art exhibit, The East Asian Museum and Koala Press have produced the book Horiyoshi III: Japanese Tattoo Art to help visitors understand and appreciate the displays.