Book About Body Art

Author shows how the human body has been used as a canvas for creative work across cultures and centuries.

Australian anthropologist Nicholas Thomas published Body Art. He describes how tattoos, piercing, scarification and body art have changed since prehistoric times, says With help from 186 illustrations, Thomas shows how contemporary culture gives new meaning to symbols from the past, and explains what is similar between an Om symbol tattooed on a yoga teacher’s back, patterns on the bodies of Australian indigenous people, a pin-up girl inked on Amy Winehouse’s bicep and an ancient Celtic cross on a policeman’s arm.

“We are all familiar with retro fashion in clothing, furniture, and design, but it is important to remember that nothing can be the same as it was. The images that are being reintroduced, that abound in popular culture, that appear on the bodies of celebrities, may be old or second-hand, but their meanings and our motivations are new,” writes author in the annotation.

Body Art is available for $22.

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