I’ve always been intrigued by tattoos. The awesome finality of having your skin inked has made me even more fascinated by traditions where tattoos carry a special meaning, such as the Polynesian cultures.
In my fantasy world of Yos, tattoos carry very particular meanings. Men and women are tattooed with a totem on coming of age, which has a religious meaning and marks inclusion in a particular sect and tradition – men inked on the chest and women on the cheek.
Then, both men and women gain tattoos that show their chosen path in life, their achievements and honours. This is so central to the cultures of Yos that to cover your chest (it’s a warm world) is a sign of deceit. Warriors will only wear armour in full-scale conflict.
In a world where many cannot read or write, the tattoos give a person’s history at a glance, where honour – and dishonour – is written in ink.
Here’s the cover from The Calvanni, that shows some of the tattoos of the Way of the Calvanni – or knife-fighter.
Do you have any special tattoos that carry a particular meaning for you?