Tides and tattoos / Entertainment / The Foreigner

Tides and tattoos. BOOK REVIEW: Norwegian Sailors Tattoos is a beautifully-produced book in English telling the personal story of 13 seamen and their tattoos between 1900 and 1960s. Thousands of Norwegians went to sea during the Golden Age of Norwegian shipping. Many came back with tattoos marking their affiliations and testified to travel worldwide. “This richly-illustrated book tells stories about the sailors’ tattoos and exotic experiences,” says Svein Størksen, editor at publisher Magikon. “The book also provides an introduction to postwar life on the sea."

sailors, norway, tattoos



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Tides and tattoos

Published on Monday, 2nd June, 2014 at 14:49 under the entertainment category, by Tove Andersson.
Last Updated on 2nd June 2014 at 23:44.

BOOK REVIEW: Norwegian Sailors Tattoos is a beautifully-produced book in English telling the personal story of 13 seamen and their tattoos between 1900 and 1960s.

Norwegian Sailors Tattoos cover
The Golden Age of Norwegian shipping saw thousands of Norwegians go to sea.Norwegian Sailors Tattoos cover
Photo: Magikon


Thousands of Norwegians went to sea during the Golden Age of Norwegian shipping. Many came back with tattoos marking their affiliations and testified to travel worldwide.

“This richly-illustrated book tells stories about the sailors’ tattoos and exotic experiences,” says Svein Størksen, editor at publisher Magikon. “The book also provides an introduction to postwar life on the sea."

The book is written by Tor Ola Svennevig, who tells the tattoos’ history. It is illustrated with numerous photographs. Journalists Elin Hansson and Marit Sunnanå Aalrust conducted the interviews, while author and former sailor Jon Michelet wrote the foreword.

Michelet says he wanted an anchor on one of his forearms, but never got it as his mother opposed it.

“I had to promise my mother not to return drunk with a suitcase full of dirty laundry - and never get a tattoo. I kept my promise,” he said to Dagbladet before the release of his recent 800-page book En sjøens helt (A Hero of the Sea).

State-owned broadcaster interviewed former sailor Finn Ohlsen from Østfold County in connection with the book project.

“They say that seafarers were drunk when they got  tattooed, but I think it was he who tattooed me that was drunk. I didn’t discover this until he had started, and then it was too late,” he explained.

The book is a delight, even for those who have not got the tiniest tattoo. It is harsh, just as the sailors’ lives, but an overwhelming number of color photographs lures us to turn pages and discover a culturally interesting story.

Senior Curator Elisabeth S. Koren at Oslo’s Maritime Museum has written the facts about this part of Norwegian culture. The photos add to this story with their own tale.



Published on Monday, 2nd June, 2014 at 14:49 under the entertainment category, by Tove Andersson.
Last updated on 2nd June 2014 at 23:44.

This post has the following tags: sailors, norway, tattoos.





  
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