Tattoos have never been more popular, and part of the appeal lies in the rich variety of body-art traditions of the past. This portrait shows a heavily tattooed 19th-century man known as "the Turk." He was an act in Barnum's, a European traveling circus. His tattoos were in the Burmese style, and he was said to have been kidnapped by the "barbarians" of Asia and forcibly tattooed.
These engravings of fully costumed Maoris from the early 1800s were made by English sailor Barnet Burns, who himself received a full facial tattoo. When he returned to England in 1835, he styled himself as a "New Zealand chief."
A Maori chief from New Zealand, circa 1950, with the traditional facial tattoos.
A bust made around 1840 displays Maori tattoos. It was made by Pierre Marie Dumoutier, perhaps the first scientific participant in a colonial expedition to study physical anthropology.
This native of the Pacific island of Tikopia has rectangular chest tattoos thought to have been inspired by flags of passing sailing ships, which were considered symbols of power by indigenous peoples. It dates to 1827.
A Samoan man shows off his traditional pe'a, or ritual tattoos that are a marker of manhood.
This photograph, taken by Mark Adams in 1980, captures the bloody and painful process of customary tattoo among Samoan men. It involves excruciating pain, said to be the equivalent of childbirth in women.