Skin and Bones Tattoo Exhibit

Because I can’t get a tattoo sleeve, though I strongly wish I could, I did what would be second best. Go to the Skin and Bones Tattoo exhibit at the Seaport Museum, at least until the convention comes in April?

This amazing exhibit chronicles traditional tattoos and how they came to become a part of Navy life. Initially discovered by Capt. Cook’s crew men, the natives called them tatau, meaning “to mark”.  The first mention of tattoos in fiction literature including Moby Dick, a character in the book was  a sailor who had a tattoo of chain ropes around his waist.

Fun  Trivia

  • Rowland Hussey Macy had a red start tattooed on his arm from his days as a sailor.
  • Good luck symbols for sailors include a pig and/or rooster tattooed on the feet. This is because, since these animals do not swim, they are shipped in wood crates and obviously would float back home.
  • Some men also had the boats screws tattooed on their butt cheeks, believing it would propel them home if they were every overboard.
  • The Navy, around WWII forbid naked women tattoos on them men and demanded that all tattoos be covered upon admission into the Navy.
  • Prior to the WWI and WWII, sailors had tattoos on their hands and arms to symbolize their nationality, destinations, and skills used on the boat.

I want to complete my flowers on my back. Maybe, that’ll be my birthday gift to me!


4 thoughts on “Skin and Bones Tattoo Exhibit

  1. Pingback: Tattoos! Tattoos! Tattoos! « Betsy Von Awesome

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