TROPHY The grotesque side of irezumi as tattooed by Horiyoshi III. The subject's calves show a decapitated head and a desiccated skull. Around the thighs Buddhist prayers curl diagonally. Both the artist and the tattooed person here are members of the Horiyoshi clan, whose tattoos are frequently sadomasochistic. Many members of the Horiyoshi nakama have their nipples pierced with rings and chains, as an extension of the ornamentation on their bodies. Pierced nipples are common to groups associated with Western tattoos— bikers, for example—but the rings are delicate, almost camouflaged, in keeping with the subtler Japanese approach.
Was this article helpful?