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Abstract

Several major religions exhibit complex attitudes towards self-mutilation and adornment. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity forbid marking the body and associate it with sin. Still, many people apparently have continued to feel a need for confirmation of their religion and their religious journeys by marking their bodies. This ethnographic study focuses on the recent situation in pilgrimage tattooing, utilising the local and daily processes of a tattoo shop called Razzouk Tattoo located in the Christian quarter of the old city of Jerusalem. The aim of this paper is not only to give a panoptic view of the tattoo studio but also to shed light on the transformations that take place in pilgrimage tattooing. In addition, I also want to demonstrate how the client-tattoo bearers legitimise their own tattoos through various narratives that ascribe deep semantic meaning to their images and words. To do this, I will first give a brief historical background of the pilgrimage tattoo tradition in the Holy Land, followed by a discussion of the transition from traditional pilgrim-tattoos to current trends, to create new specific categories of tattoo bearers

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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