What looks more painful: covering your entire back with a colourful Japanese folk art tattoo, or wearing nothing but a twisted towel up your bum crack in order to show it off? You can mull over that conundrum to your heart’s content with a copy of 1000 Tattoos, a celebration of the best in skin art from publishers TASCHEN.
After spending some time out of favour as the sole preserve of the pub psycho, tattoos are once again all the rage. Co-editor Henk Schiffmacher, Dutch body art ledge and custodian of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum, is just the man to uncover the best and most important examples from history. The book explores tattoos as tribal art, membership badge, personal statement, decoration and love declaration, taking in designs from the 19th Century to the present day – with some surprising examples of seemingly prim British ladies going under the needle. A great source of ideas if you’re considering getting inked for the first time, although a plated fry-up on the top of your head is probably more of a second tattoo sort of design.