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Kunsten på Kroppen
The Art of Tattooing

Photos of tattoos,
and presentation of:
Kai Uwe Faust
Patricia Campos
Marcus Hammer
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Erik and Colin at
Lejre Research Center
Weekend July 1st and 2nd.  2000

We were only working with hand tattooing techniques using rose thorns etc.

Lejre Research Center is working with prehistory and trying out the theories in praxis.

We had been invited to show how tattooing were done "in the old days". You have to realize that the electric tattoo machine is no more than a hundred years old (1894 showed the first patent). For all the millenniums before that, tattooing was done by hand.
Once people learned to use needles, of course they used those, but I am sure that before that, among other things, rose thorns were used. You only have to find the right kind - strong and very sharp. It is also cool that they come with a readymade handle - part of the stem.

The technique is naturally the same as with needles - you dip the thorn in some colour, and punctures the skin.

The Saturday was quite rainy, so not a lot of people showed up, but we entertained those who did as good as we could.

Among others was this man who got a simple sign symbolizing his family - one large dot surrounded by five little ones.


Sunday showed the finest sunny  weather, so a lot more people came.

Erik in clothes of the iron age.

We held court at the Viking Market Place. We had our own fireplace, and placed an exhibition in one of the large tents.

I added a petroglyphic design of a man riding a bull, from the bronze age on Thomas' arm.
On the above photos I am drawing the design on his arm, and then tattooed using rose thorns as needles.

Colin tattooed a runic A on the chest of one big descendant from the Vikings.

The finished tattoo

Colin had great success drawing Viking inspired dragons on the kids' arms. They were drawn on with a simple felt pen. It was especially popular among the girls.

Mark is working at the Center, and has been tattooed earlier with fabulous stone age and bronze age designs from both Scandinavia and Native Americans.

Colin has hand tattooed the whole thing.

The motives on the arms (and legs), are from an old symbol, probably used as a tattoo design. It may represent a sun symbol with rays, or a tree with branches and roots.

Two lines were added both the arms and the legs.


The motive on his chest and one arm, are from Native American petroglyphics. On the other arm are running some Scandinavian bronze age dogs. Down from each breast runs a line of dots. A typical tattoo design among the Cree tribe.

 René churned some charcoal from the campfire. We then used it as colour for his tattoo. It worked fine.

Robert had a petroglyphic design from the bronze age finished.


In one of the tents we made a little exhibition about the history of tattooing, and photos of some of the tattoos we have done with ancient historical designs.

This is the final stage in
the story of our weekend in
Lejre Historical Research Center
in 2000


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