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    19 Old-Ass Tattoos On Preserved Human Skin

    The people aren't here anymore, but that doesn't mean they can't show off their tatts.

    The largest selection of preserved tattoos is from London's Wellcome Collection.

    There are over 300 individual pieces of skin, collected in the late 19th century.

    They were preserved by slicing the tattoo off the body, scraping the connective tissue off the back, and then pinning the skin to dry.

    As it dried, the skin would shrink away from the pins, creating a scooped effect around the edges.

    Back then, tattoos were considered to be the mark of a criminal, or at least criminal tendencies or general badness.

    Medical men tried to interpret the most common images and symbols they found.

    Stars, butterflies, flowers, whatever.

    A lot of these.

    The museum records aren't great, and no one's entirely certain that the one guy they acquired the tattoos from was using his real name.

    Or where, specifically, he got them from.

    Maybe they came from prisoners.

    Maybe they came from soldiers in the French Foreign Legion.

    Maybe someone had a hot girlfriend called Flora and wanted you to know about it.

    Maybe this guy was a sailor who was just really into pictures of sailors.

    But we don't know whose nipple this was.

    Or what happened on May 19, 1891.

    Maybe he fell in love with this lady.

    Or bought a fan and liked it a lot.

    No idea.

    H/T to Simon Davis who wrote about human pelts and The Art of Preserving Tattooed Skin After Death.