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June 9, 2009 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Skin & Bones is a new exhibit about sailor tattoos and their symbolism and history, developed at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. NYTimes story with neat art slideshow.
posted by Miko (6 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I nearly got port and starboard tats back when I worked on a riverboat.

Also, not to derail (because this is a damn cool subject) but does anyone else think that the two descriptions of tattoo symbolism in the "sailor tattoos" and "symbolism and history" links look plagiaristically similar?
posted by The White Hat at 7:35 PM on June 9, 2009

Plagiaristically similar, yes.

Unicorn tattoos, no.
posted by Xoebe at 7:52 PM on June 9, 2009

Umm, symbolism and history..history? Captain Hook stumbled upon the Polynesians? Captain Hook? I thought he was a mortal enemy of the Lost Boys.

Anyway, cool post.
posted by Mojojojo at 2:54 AM on June 10, 2009

A cool and timely post! My brother is trying to research the WWII-era tattoo my grandfather got while in the Navy. We remember it as mostly a big blue smudge, but it was a cowgirl...formerly topless, top added once he got home.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:07 AM on June 10, 2009

That symbolism site helped clear up the meaning some weird lyrics in folk songs/sailor's songs for me.
posted by The Whelk at 6:53 AM on June 10, 2009

I learned a lot about the symbols while working in maritime museums. Any songs in particular,The Whelk? The link offers a few items but there has been a lot of book documentation of superstitions and the related symbols.
posted by Miko at 8:46 AM on June 10, 2009

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