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Profs and Pints DC presents: “A World Heritage of Tattooing,” with Lars Krutak, anthropologist, research associate at the Museum of International Folk Art, author or editor of several books on tattooing around the world, and former host of the Discovery Channel’s Tattoo Hunter.
Since time immemorial, astonishingly diverse forms of tattooing have been produced by various cultures of the world. Some employed tattoos for therapeutic or cosmetic purposes, or to mark special life achievements, or to assert social identity. Others marked the body with symbols that were understood to promote fertility, protect the body from malevolent spirits, or carry them safely into the afterlife.
Join world traveler, anthropologist, and photographer Dr. Lars Krutak as he shares his 20-year journey to understand how tattoos “make” the people who wear them, part of which he chronicled in his Discovery Channel series, as well as Netflix’s Explained and a new project, Patterns of Life.
In a richly illustrated talk based on his own research and the accounts of explorers, historians, and anthropologists, he’ll talk about tattoos around the world dating from 5000 BCE to the present. He’ll explore ancient tattooing traditions and reveal how tattoos exposed individual desires and fears, cultural values, spirituality, and ancestral ties.
He’ll demonstrate how a visual language written on the skin has much to say about what it means to be human. He’ll have available signed copies of his books on the subject, which include The Tattooing Arts of Tribal Women. (Advance tickets: $13.50 plus sales tax and processing fees. Doors: $17, or $15 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later.)
Image: Posen Mangyut, an elder of the Lazu Naga people of Myanmar and Northeast India. Photo by Lars Krutak.