Tattooing in Japanese culture can be traced back to 10,000 B.C. It was the Paleolithic Era, and humans — who were just figuring out how to use stones as tools — began altering their physical appearance for spiritual and decorative purposes. A new exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts showcases the work of seven modern tattooists who draw their inspiration from the Japanese traditions of flesh art, calligraphy and ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking. Organized by the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, “Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition” is curated by Takahiro Kitamura. It features the works of Ryudaibori, formerly known as Horitaka, as well as Horitomo (pictured), Horishiki, Miyazo, Shige, Junii and Yokohama Horiken, all photographed by Kip Fulbeck. Their art is displayed alongside tools and relief carvings. A fascinating look into the still culturally stigmatized art form, the exhibition runs until Sept. 27. vmfa.museum.
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