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Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in the Japanese Tattoo Paperback – March 1, 2003


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Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in the Japanese Tattoo + The Japanese Tattoo + Bushido: The Legacy of Japanese Tattoo
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: Amsterdam Tattoo Museum; Second edition edition (March 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9074822452
  • ISBN-13: 978-9074822459
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #220,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Grey Aahz on May 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Most tattoo afficianados are aware that Japanese tattoos are steeped in history and culture. But Tattoos Of The Floating World: Ukiy-o Motifs In The Japanese tattoo explores this history and culture in a way never done before. Takahiro Kitamura's research and unique insight combine to present the reader with not only a history of the Japanese tattoo, but also with an understanding of how it came to be, how it continued to maintain its traditions through centuries of persecution and cultural metamorphosis, and how it both influenced and was influenced by the contemporary arts of early Japan.
The first half of this excellent work explores the early history of the Floating World (as pleasure districts were known as Japan's Edo period), focusing on the "triumvirate of arts": ukiyo-e (wood block prints), irezumi (tattoos), and kabuki theatre. Ukiyo-e and irezumi are so closely intertwined that tattoos of the day were referred to as horimono (carved object) in deference to the process of carving a wood block print. Kabuki was the theatre of the people and expressed not only the history and mythology of Japan, but the people's innermost desires as well. Kitamura's exploration of the ways in which these three arts intertwined demonstrates his love of the topic and inspires a similar affection in the reader.
The latter half of Tattoos Of The Floating World details many of the themes so strongly connected with Japanese Tattoo today. Sections devoted to such heroes as Fudo Myoo, Fujin and Raijin, Kumonryu Shishin, and Tennin give a basic understanding of their characters themselves and their endurance as tattoo motifs. Details are also provided on such traditional images as dragons, koi, shunga, falcons, the Kurikaraken, tigers and the phoenix.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Merrily Baird on July 8, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Takahiro Kitamura's "Tattoos of the Floating World" is far from a be-all and end-all guide to Japanese tattoos. However, it is for the moment without peer in providing a cultural context, and it thus adds depth to a reading of many other favorites, including Fellman's "The Japanese Tattoo," Addiss' "Japanese Ghosts and Demons," and Klompmakers' "Of Brigands and Bravery: Kuniyoshi's Heroes of the Suikoden."
In this slender volume, Kitamura's primary focus is the linkage of the woodblock printing tradition of the Edo period (1615-1868) to the development of the tattoo as art. With such a focus, afficionados of the print artists Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, and Kunichika will find many illustrations to delight them, and there are as well photographs of the current artistry being worked by tattoo masters. Adding to the value of the book are a preface written by Donald Richie and an afterword by Don Ed Hardy. The first essay is elegiac and lyrical in tone; the second provides personal insights by a Western connoisseur of the tattoo art form.
The shortcomings of "Tattoos of the Floating World" concern what is not included. The book would have benefitted greatly from having an index as well as a more generously-executed glossary. Moreover, I regret that Kitamura, who as a tattoo artist is uniquely qualified to do so, did not more systematically and fully catalogue and explain the symbolism of Japanese tattoos.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this paperback is full of great pieces of art by the best Japanese tattoo artist.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was suggested to me by a very famous tattoo artist when I was considering getting some work done. To say I was completely astonished by my own ignorance of the art form is an understatement. Although much of the book was a little too complex for me to understand, the pictures, process and artists were a great tool to study. The book also provided surprising information on American artist Ed Hardy--a fashionable rage right now--who apparently was one of the rare American artists to be allowed access into this world. Highly recommended
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