Monday, April 11, 2016

Preserved tattoos of the dead

The idea of preserving tattoos after death came into existence long before NAPSA. London's Wellcome Collection has over 300 specimens of preserved human flesh bearing tattoos, collected in the late 19th century. There are many more examples of smaller collections in Paris, Poland, Portugal, Berlin, and Austria. But what fascinates me the most is this lesser-known museum at Tokyo University, the Medical Pathology Museum, which houses pieces of skin collected since 1926 by Dr. Masaichi Fukushi.

"Fukushi would perform autopsies on donated cadavers and dissect off just the skin. He created a method of treatment to preserve the skin and kept them stretched in a glass frame, essentially like a leather. Later the ownership of the tattooed skin collection was passed on to Fukushi's son Katsunari. Katsunari added a further 20 tattooed skins himself and it's believed that the Medical Pathology Museum has 105 in its collection, many with full body suits."

[h/t: The Soul is Bone]

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