In celebration of the conclusion of our long Tattoo History series on Irezumi, the art of Japanese tattoo, we thought we'd take a closer look at the practice, designs and meanings that make up this gorgeous, intricate art.. There is so much to cover, we will have to do this article in installments also!
Nara ink, also known as Nara black is largely responsible for giving Irezumi it's unique look. The ink turns blue-green in color when deposited under the skin.
It takes specialized tattoo artists to perform traditional Irezumi, and the process can be painful, expensive, and time consuming. After up to five years of weekly visits, the bearer of a completed Irezumi design is highly respected by those who admire the art. It shows him or her as a person of commitment, who finishes what he or she starts.
There a a number of common Irezumi designs that read like a clothing catalog, due to their full-body style. You can get long or short sleeve, long or short pants, a vest or a jacket. Irezumi designs traditionally often leave an untattooed area down the center of the chest.
Next week, we'll look into the specific designs of Irezumi and their meanings.