Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Thursday, 19 February 2009 01:05

叛逆心鏡

─刺青文化與身體藝術

文‧攝影│潘云薇

傳統的刺青,是用針沾上墨,一針一針把圖案刺在皮膚上,刺青者必須經過一段痛苦的過程,並在身上留下永久的圖像。刺青的過程既是痛苦的,勢必也對應著另一個痛苦的心境,像是戰士視死如歸的灑脫,也有自以為看透生命的傻勁。這樣的特性,使得刺青在一些群體中成為勇氣的表現,或是認同的象徵。在許多社會的文化中,刺青則是一種階級與地位的表徵,例如台灣的泰雅族與賽夏族都有黥面的文化,古埃及社會也以刺青來畫分社會地位,而英國維多利亞時代的婦女則有紋唇的習慣。

刺青在中國歷史文獻的記載中被稱為「紋身」,《墨子‧公孟》:「越王句踐,剪髮文身。」《越絕書‧外傳本事》:「越王句踐,東垂海濱,夷狄文身。」從中可以發現,當時的主流社會把紋身視為野蠻的表現,不是中原的主流文化。在文學作品中,刺青亦常與叛逆人物有關,例如中國四大名著之一《水滸傳》中至少有三個身滿刺青的重要角色:花和尚魯智深、九紋龍史進與浪子燕青。小說家利用刺青突顯人物的特性與魅力,藉此表彰陽剛、野性、反動的力量。

隨著社會風氣的開放,現代的刺青已經漸漸成為一種身體藝術,大家也逐漸能接受,刺青愛好者不再躲在社會角落,會主動組成團體,定期舉辦展覽或進行交流。在日本,刺青被視為價值極高的藝術品,所以刺青者希望在身上留下刺青師傅的作品。在不同國家,刺青圖騰的選擇也有很大的變化。例如在西方社會中,目前流行的是刺幾個不一定連貫的中文字或是非本國文化的新奇圖案,香港流行紋印度文字,東方人則喜好選擇英文字,亦即刻意與本身的文化脫鉤。不過,這仍未跳脫刺青是叛逆的傳統思維。

附加的多媒體:
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Wednesday, 18 February 2009 21:23

Prayer with Salt and Pepper

Jerry Martinson, S.J., shares with us his ways of praying and meditating.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 20:47

Tattoo culture and body art

Tattooing is traditionally done with a needle dipped in ink, in a hand-tapping motion that leaves behind a permanent image on the body of the person being tattooed. A painful process, tattooing oneself is often related to other situations involving facing pain voluntarily, such as that of a soldier courageously facing death at battle. It is an act of endurance for pain that many believe to be an experience of another sense of living. Such factors have contributed to making the practice of tattooing today, an expression of courage or a symbol of identity. In some cultures, sporting tattoos is a sign of rank and prestige, an example being the custom of face-tattooing in the Tayal or the Saisiyat tribes in Taiwan. In ancient Egypt, tattoos are also used to define different social ranks whilst during the Victorian era women had the habit of tattooing the outlines of their lips.

The practice of tattooing in ancient China was first introduced in Mozi’s Gong Heng, whereby a Barbarian king was described as having a tattooed body. Through the writing’s negative connotations of tattoos, we can deduce that the practice of tattooing was not highly regarded by the mainstream Chinese culture, particularly those from the Central Plains whom considered it to be a barbaric practice.

In literature, tattoos were often associated with ‘rebels’ such as the characters described in Water Margin, one of the four greatest classical novels of Chinese literature where at least three main characters sport tattoos all over their body: Lu Zhishen, aka ‘The Flowery Monk’, Shi Jin who is nicknamed ’Nine tattooed dragons’ and Yan Qing ‘The Wanderer’. Thus, writers widely used descriptions and mentions of tattoos to emphasize the savage strength and the charisma of the characters as well as their inclination towards rebellions.

With the modernization of society, tattooing gradually became perceived as a form of body art, widely accepted by the younger generation. Tattooed people are no longer confined to the margins of society; they initiate associations, conduct tattoo expositions and interact better with others. In Japan, tattoos are considered as very valuable pieces of art and tattooed people often see their body-tattoos as supporting the work of tattoo masters. In other countries, people have also opened up to a wide variety of tattoos. For instance, it is in vogue now in some western countries to tattoo several Chinese characters or Arabic words that may not be necessarily coherent. In Hong Kong it is now fashionable to tattoo words in Sanskrit while most Chinese people may prefer English words. The more exotic the writing is for the individual, the more attractive it is.
Nevertheless, it seems like there is still a long way to go to overcome the social prejudice that associates tattooed people with rebelliousness.

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