Tattoos in Japanese Prints

Member Events
Shi Jin, the Nine Dragoned, from the series One Hundred and Eight Heroes of the Water Margin, 1853, by Totoya Hokkei (Japanese, 1780–1850). Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, William Sturgis Bigelow Collection, 11.39658.

Tattoos in Japanese Prints

Sarah Thompson
May 30, 2019
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Koret Education Center, Asian Art Museum
$15 Society members, $20 non-members (after museum admission)

Sarah E. Thompson will share with us the fascinating story of how, in the early 19th Century, the color woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e first inspired tattoo artists, as the pictorial tradition of tattooing in Japan was just beginning. She will explore the Japanese tattoo’s evolving meanings, from symbol of devotion to punishment and even to crime, and will reveal some of the tales behind specific motifs.

Sarah E. Thompson is the Curator of Japanese Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She curated the Asian Art Museum’s exhibition, Tattoos in Japanese Prints, which opens May 31, 2019, and wrote the accompanying exhibition catalogue.

*Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

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