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Tattooed Man

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anonymous1880-90Japanalbumin (hand-coloured)32 x 24 cm

The motif of the tattooed male body was a particular favourite among the European and American tourists who visited Japan from the 1880s onwards. Historical correctness was not a criterion for their images, since tattooing had been forbidden in 1872. These staged studio portraits, so-called “Costumes”, as Beato terms them in his sale catalogue, were introduced by European photographers and are subsequently, after 1880, disseminated mainly by Japanese photographers. The scenes and portraits show customs and trades typical of the country, and constitute a staged representation of the traditional Japan. The brightly-coloured images are hand-coloured.