Ever since “Ink’d,” I’d been itching to do another set of dolls lousy with tattoos. In my next life, I’ll definitely make it a priority to take up tattooing. But in the meanwhile, I’ll stick to painting them!
This is, once again, a single babushka doll good for housing bottles…and in this case, a bottle of sake!
I am intrigued by the Japanese crime syndicate. They don’t just slap on a matching bandana and call it a day. No sir. Not only are they required to dress sharply, drive Cadillacs, lop off their pinkies to display their eternal loyalty, but they also have to cover their body with tattoos. In the past Japanese people favored tattoos to protect them from evil spirits, but now it’s just a matter of being “cool” and “with it.”
I have incorporated a trio of Japanese folklore into this project. Most of the backside is a depiction of Kintarō, the story of the super human Golden Boy, who fought monsters and demons and helped local woodsmen fell trees.
The left arm featured the story of Kiyohime, a vengeful woman bent on revenge after being spurned by a priest she was pursuing. Legend has it that she turned into a serpent in pursuit of him and found him hiding beneath a large bell, which she managed to crush. On the right arm was my favorite story: Urashima Tarō, the tale of a man who rescued a turtle and was invited to visit an undersea kingdom. He returned to his village after three days to find that 60 years have passed since. The story didn’t have a happy ending, but the very idea of visiting a Japanese version of Atlantis on the back of a turtle was more than enough for me!
On a whim, I signed my Chinese name in the tattoo itself—as a tattoo. I blame the shoddy handwriting on the tiny scale, not the fact that my calligraphy is beyond appalling.
The real Yakuza and their outrageous tats.