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The Tattoo Encyclopedia: A Guide to Choosing Your Tattoo Paperback – August 12, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (August 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780743223294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743223294
  • ASIN: 0743223292
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Skipping the technical details of how to get a tattoo, Green's catalog delves into the fascinating realm of why people get tattoos and what images they choose. After an introduction sketching the history of skin art, Green, an archaeologist and UCLA research associate, launches into an alphabetical encyclopedia with a collection of common tattoo symbols under each letter. She offers an illustration of the symbols and describes the meaning and symbolism behind each. For example, a hammer suggests "might, activity, and brute force." The book also explains more obscure tattoos, such as the number 13, which stands for the thirteenth letter of the alphabet (M) and is sometimes used in lieu of a marijuana leaf; and a sunflower, which represents constancy. Green covers some 800 images, from acorn ("an ancient representation of life and birth") to Zuni fetish (a popular Native American symbol).
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

... a book that should be in every tattoo shop on the planet. It's an easy-to-use, A-Z reference guide ... -- Skin & Ink Magazine, March, 2004

... will not only provide an invaluable tool to artists and collectors alike, it's also a great read ... -- Tattoo Revue Magazine, Issue #114

Guilty pleasure. -- Kansas City Star, August 17, 2003

Looking for that perfect gift for your teenage son or daughter - that free-spirited, be-myself, make-a-statement child ...? Voila. -- St. Louis Post Dispatch, August 21, 2003

… useful resource for anyone seriously contemplating a tattoo … interesting, well-written treatment on the meaning of commonly used symbols. -- Netsurfer Books

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Customer Reviews

Ending up giving it to goodwill & never read.
Joyce Davidson
I have definately gotten my moneys worth out of this book and would recommend it to anyone researching tattoo ideas.
S. Duban
Perhaps you are thinking of getting a tattoo like my drinking buddy "Lou", and you don't know where to start.
A. D. Cox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic resource for anybody who's thinking about getting a tattoo. In fact, I would go so far as to say that you shouldn't get a tattoo without reading this book. You can look up tattoo symbols by name, by type, or just thumb through the whole thing looking at all the fantastic illustrations. I bought the book when I decided the time had come to take the tattoo plunge, but realized I had no idea what design I would want or would look good. This book helped me choose a design I would never have thought of by myself. Even if you're not considering a tattoo yourself, the entries make for fascinating reading. Every tattoo shop should have one of these! I'm waiting for the sequel on jewelry!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Raison Detre on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Yet another mediocre book on the art of tattooing. If you're looking for in-depth coverage of tattooing, its origins, processes, etc...you're out of luck. If you're looking for good pictures of interesting artwork...you're out of luck.

However, if you're the typical college kid interested in skimming the surface of this art and searching for inspiration other than the ubiquitous butterfly on your lower back or "tribal" design (being that most tribal designs are not, in fact, truly tribal) around your bicep, this book may indeed help you out a little.

I posit a great tattoo book has not yet been written, but at least this author gives modest blurbs (we'll not discuss the butchering of the English language) regarding some of the images rather than throwing yet another book chock-full of uninspired flash with nary a word to read.
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39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Bianchi Joe on October 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
The illustrations are little more than commercially-available clip art. The descriptions and explanations are so brief as to be meaningless, and the historical information is ubiquitously available on myriad Internet sites. If you have never seen a tattoo before in your life, this will be a fascinating read. But for the rest of us who have even the slightest prior knowledge of tattoos or generic iconography, buying this book will be an utter waste of money. May I suggest instead that you vist a tattoo shop and discuss designs with an artist.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Maruyama on May 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a book filled with color pictures and image ideas for your next tattoo, then you may want to consider looking elsewhere. However, if you want to get more of a historical background on the various images and symbols used in tattoo art throughout the ages then you won't be disappointed. The "Tattoo Encyclopedia" is an interesting catalog of all the world images, symbols and designs used in tattoo art throughout the centuries. While most of the entries are just a few sentences long, it gives facinating trivia on a wide variety of images from Chinese Dragons to the Illuminati to the Claddagh to the Triskelion. It would have been nice to have pictures accompanying all the entries but I guess that would be asking a bit too much. Useful strictly as a reference book and not as a book on design, the "Tattoo Encyclopedia" is a good buy for those curious about the origins and meanings of tattoo symbols.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A. D. Cox VINE VOICE on June 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Mark of Cain

The pub, the bar, the old watering hole: it's where all the animals gather at the end of the day, but that also includes the predators. I met a gal with the nickname of "Lou". Lou challenged me to arm wrestle and beat me two out of three, and me being a weightlifter and wrestler in high school. But in all fairness, I was distracted by the tattoos of bleeding skulls and naked women rippling down her biceps.

Tattooing is becoming much more commonplace and mainstream in today's society. It used to be that very few women got tattoos. Those that did were the exception and usually a touch eccentric and rebellious, not to mention being able to hold their liquor. All that changed in the late 80's when tattooing became much more socially acceptable, largely due to the many celebrities who publically sported tattoos. In the fall of 2006, a study was completed by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, which found that 24% of Americans who were between the ages of 18 and 50 had a tattoo. This is almost one in four people in the United States, including women.

Throughout human history, we have deliberately and permanently marked our skin. Tattoos have served as rites of passage, marks of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations of bravery, punishment, talismans of protection, to identify oneself with a particular group or gang, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. Today, most people choose to be tattooed for cosmetic and sentimental reasons. No matter the reason - tattoos are forms of expression that carry meaning.

Perhaps you are thinking of getting a tattoo like my drinking buddy "Lou", and you don't know where to start.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Leah N. Allor on April 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book gives interesting history on just about any popular tattoo you see around these days. It is very interesting to know that certain popular tattoo art dates back to when it does, and holds a special meaning in certain cultures. You might want to pick up this book if you are interested in finding out some important details about a tattoo you get before you get it, but it may require extra research as the descriptions in the book are very brief.
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