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7 Bizarre Facts About Tattoos

Each culture has its own variation on what we know as tattoos. Many styles vary by region, and even more by culture, even if two exist close to each other. But despite the widespread use of different inks to draw on human skin, there are still a couple of things about tattoos many would refer to as “trippy” or “just plain weird.”

While that may be the attitude of the majority, here are some interesting facts people may also find fun to know:

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1. People Collect Tattoo Skins

Have you ever gone hunting and wanted to bring back the skin of your kill? While there is no “hunt” for humans, it is still true that people in the world collect what are lovingly called human pelts.

In the country of Japan, Dr. Masaichi Fukushi, of the Medical Pathology Museum at Tokyo University, has collected and houses more than 100 of these “human pelts” from long-deceased members of the Yakuza, or Japanese mafia.

While the pelts on display in Japan are numerous, Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum also houses skin as part of a collection known as anatomical anomalies.

2. You Can Donate Your Skin Canvas When You Die

Do you have a couple of tattoos on your body? Did you get a large piece done that you wish could last forever? Good news, if you have a morbid sense of preservation of the art on your skin canvas. You can facilitate the donation of your artful skin decorations to a museum upon your death, as Geoff Ostling is doing with the floral-pattern piece on his body.

Ostling’s skin canvas will be displayed at the National Museum of Australia after his death.

3. They Are Status Symbols

There are quite a few places where one can get a tattoo. The easiest place to get it, of course, is in jail or prison. But that is done with rudimentary tools. In the country of Japan, the Yakuza possess tattoos as a status symbol, something’s that’s been a little ‘wishy-washy’ here in the United States.

It has often been seen as a sign of the lower-class to have any tattoos, but the same cannot be said of New Zealand. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Maori people see tattoos as sacred symbols of their tribe. To receive one is a great and honorable rite of passage.

Many Native Americans in the U.S. donned different tattoos, each symbolizing a specific accomplishment or prowess in battle.

4. Certain Industries Actually Want You to Be Tattooed

While most companies prefer that their employees’ skin is free of any ink, many industries actually encourage their potential candidates to get themselves inked. If you are considering a career as a bartender, tattoos are said to add to the aesthetic of whichever established you’re employed in.

There are also many mall stores where employees are encouraged to get tattoos in addition to facial piercings.

5. A Tattooed Barbie Angered the Country In The Late ‘90s

Tattoos on toys aren’t really something new. There were often GI Joe’s sold with their own USMC stick-ons, but Mattel brand caught flak when they released a specialized version of the well-known Barbie.

This version, known as Butterfly Art Barbie, came with her own tattoo in the shape of her butterfly. The biggest problem? It had to be the stick-on tattoos that matched the image on the doll.

They were under limited sale before being discontinued, making the Butterfly Art Barbie an extremely rare item today.

6. Most Tattoo Inks Are Not Vegan

While the majority of ink for tattoos has been historically sourced from charred animal bones and fat, new products are being developed that use mostly plant-based ink.

Although there is vegan-friendly ink, you’ll likely have to shop around and ask each parlor how they source their colors.

If you want to be loyal to your vegan lifestyle, verify the ink going into your tattoo is vegan-friendly.

7. Many People Are Allergic To Color Ink

Black and gray has been the standard color scheme for the last few millennia when it comes to color schemes. While those are only two of the possible colors, many others have been created since the first tattoo’s inception.

But because of ingredients like iron oxide, mercury sulfide, and cadmium sulfide, which make up the pigment of other colors, it causes an allergic reaction, much like a rash.

If you find yourself allergic to any sort of tattoo color, avoid red like the plague. It is known to have the most severe allergic reaction.

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