Spirited Away is Hayao Miyazaki’s most popular film to date. It is an Academy Award winner, and Japan’s highest grossing film of all time. It came out in 2001 and is still one of the most popular Japanese films out there.
The film was created without a script. The artwork came first, and it was drawn, directed, and written by Miyazaki himself.
The lead character, Chihiro, was actually based on one of Miyazaki’s friends’ daughters. She was supposed to be a relatable character and as average as possible. This was to show that ordinary people, particularly young women, could be heroes too.
A common occurrence in Miyazaki films are the quiet scenes of inaction. These are often some of the most beautiful scenes in his films. In Spirited Away, these scenes include driving, various nature scenes, and characters staring off into the distance.
Spirited Away has many memorable characters that make for fantastic tattoos. Some of the most popular characters for tattoos are no face, Chihiro, Haku, Yubaba, and the cute little soot sprites!
These tattoos are often done in blackwork, neo traditional, dotwork, and watercolor.
Jinpil Yuu is tattooer and owner of the tattoo studio The Ravens Ink in Seoul, South Korea. Jinpil is famous for his flower tattoos, particularly his peony’s. Jinpil uses brilliantly deep and vibrant colours for his colour pieces.
For his flower tattoos, Jinpil uses heavy contrast between red/orange, and black/dark greens.
He is also known for his blackwork, and Korean style pieces. Particularly gakubori, such as clouds and water, as well as snakes.
The werewolf myth dates back thousands of years, in numerous cultures; but it became most popular between the 16th and 19th centuries. These stories grew so popular that it seemed almost every town in Europe had its own werewolf tale. Books such as Discours de la Lycanthropie published in 1599, described werewolves as “men so denatured, that they have made bastards of their first origin, leaving this divine form, and transforming themselves into such an impure, cruel and savage beast.”
Another term for werewolf is lycan. Lycanthropy, then, is the change of man or woman into the form of a wolf, either through magical means, so as to enable him or her to gratify the taste for human flesh, or through judgment of the gods in punishment for some great offence, as put by Sabine Baring-Gould in his 1865 book The Book of Werewolves.
When sideshows were a popular part of circus life, people with hypertrichosis were often branded as werewolves.
Popular werewolf movies include An American Werewolf in London 1981, The Wolf Man 1941, The Curse of the Werewolf 1961, and The Wolfman 2010.
As a tattoo, werewolves are often done in black and grey style, realism, neo traditional, and American traditional.
Baphomet today is regarded as a Satanic figure, but for a long time Baphomet was actually a word for the prophet Mohammed in Islam, and worshipping a Muslim god or prophet was seen as idolatry. The Knights of Templar were accused of worshipping Baphomet the false idol in Medieval France, and were tortured under King Philip.
Over the next 500 years, Baphomet changed from Mohammed the prophet, to a hermaphroditic stone figure borrowed from Egypt or the Gnostic Christian Ophites. This was after both scholars and mystics studied the Knights of Templar, writing that the Knights brought back ancient magical knowledge from the middle East and North Africa. The idol in question was called Baphomet in 1818, and were most likely just misidentified artifacts from other cultures and religions.
But the final Baphomet that we picture today was created in 1854 by occultist Eliphas Levi for his book “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie” (“Dogmas and Rituals of High Magic“). Levi describes Baphomet in detail in his book.”The goat on the frontispiece carries the sign of the pentagram on the forehead, with one point at the top, a symbol of light, his two hands forming the sign of hermetism, the one pointing up to the white moon of Chesed, the other pointing down to the black one of Geburah. This sign expresses the perfect harmony of mercy with justice. His one arm is female, the other male like the ones of the androgyn of Khunrath, the attributes of which we had to unite with those of our goat because he is one and the same symbol. The flame of intelligence shining between his horns is the magic light of the universal balance, the image of the soul elevated above matter, as the flame, whilst being tied to matter, shines above it. The beast’s head expresses the horror of the sinner, whose materially acting, solely responsible part has to bear the punishment exclusively; because the soul is insensitive according to its nature and can only suffer when it materializes. The rod standing instead of genitals symbolizes eternal life, the body covered with scales the water, the semi-circle above it the atmosphere, the feathers following above the volatile. Humanity is represented by the two breasts and the androgyn arms of this sphinx of the occult sciences.”
As a tattoo, people often get the full bodied Baphomet, or a goats head, as goats are often also related to Satanism as well as witchcraft and paganism. Full bodied goats and goat heads are also popular in part thanks to the film The Witch, and the Satanic goat named Black philip. Generally these tattoos are done in blackwork or black and grey but also realism, neo traditional, and American traditional.
Marilyn Manson is a musician, painter, and actor. Known for his controversial music, and dark style. His stage name, “Marilyn Manson” comes from mixing what he believes to be the two most influential people in recent American history; actress and model Marilyn Monroe, and serial killer Charles Manson.
He has sold millions of copies of his albums, and his influence reaches far and wide. He has a cult following, and those who love his music, really love it. He sells out stadiums around the world, and never fails to awe the crowd.
His music is described as shock rock, and goth, and his style follows in this same manner. Manson has had numerous run ins with the law, and public, including being blamed in part for the infamous Columbine school shooting. He has also had his shows protested by religious groups for being Satanic. Manson has been given the honorary title of “reverend” in the Satanic Church, but has said many times before in interviews that he does not actually believe in the devil, or any religion. All of his art is satirical and made to shock those who listen, and view it.
As a tattoo, Manson is often done as a portrait, showing off his own various tattoos, makeup, and various costumes from music videos, photo shoots, and live shows.
Dan Gagné is an artist working at Loveless Tattoo in Montréal, Canada. Dan’s tattoos are perfect for the month of October, and those who love Halloween and horror year round. His work is mainly American traditional and blackwork, and is heavily inspired by horror movies. His work often features monsters and other icons of classic horror movies and stories.
The Li people live in Hainan Province, China’s most southern point. Tattoos in Hainan can be traced as far back as 3000 years ago. Hainan is often referred to as “The Tail of the Dragon”, as it is the most southern point of China, though also used to be called one of the eyeballs of China (along with Taiwan when it was a part of China) as it is an island province.
According to one German ethnologist (branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples and the relationship between them), Hans Stübel, the origin of their tattooing came from a story about a descendant of the original Li. This descendant of Li had a daughter whose mother died early in the child’s life. When this happened, a colourful native bird called the hoopoe fed the child with grains to keep her alive. In remembrance of this, the Li women tattoo themselves to look more like the birds, both in their colour and the patterns of their wings.
Others still believe that the women tattooed themselves in order to be recognized in the afterlife.
A more practical reason that these women tattooed themselves, particularly on their faces, is the fact that their villages would be attacked often by many of their neighbors. In order to appear unattractive to the invading men, the Li women tattooed quite intricate designs on their faces and down their necks. Making themselves appear less attractive protected them from violence and rape.
Later on in history though, these women saw the tattoos as an enhancement to their beauty. When a girl turned 13 or 14, an older woman would tattoo her, first on the nape of her neck, then her face and throat over the course of 5-7 days. Then, over the next 3 years, she would continue to be tattooed along her arms and legs. The only thing that interrupted this would be the death of a family member. Once a woman married, her hand would also be tattooed, marking her as a married woman.
Like many ancient cultures, the Li used a bamboo rod, with rattan needles to hand tap the designs into the skin. The patterns used did vary from tribe to tribe, but all used motifs taken from nature, such as plants, animals, and totemic symbols passed down through generations.
Information taken from:
-Carrie E. Reed. “Tattoo in Early China.” Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 120, no. 3, 2000, pp. 360–376.Liu, H. (1939).
-“Hainan: The Island and the People.” The China Journal 29(5-6): 236-246; 302-314.
-McCabe, M. [and Q.Y. Wang] (2008). “Tattooed Women of Yunnan, China.” Skin and Ink Magazine (11): 64-74.
-Stϋbel, H. (1937). Die Li Stämme der Insel Hainan: Ein Betrag zur Volkskunde Sϋdchinas. Berlin: Klinkhardt & Bierman.