Tattooing is not only widely practiced, but in recent years has become quite fashionable. Accordingly, over the course of this century, designs for tattoos have evolved from standardized "flash" to completely customized work that allows for more detail, creativity, and even abstract painterly effects. With its curious collection of imagery, including vintage freak show advertisements, this book explores the development of the iconography of the tattoo and examines the age-old rite and tradition of embellishing the human body with images, words, and designs. Completely absorbing, the book traces the remarkable changes in tattoo styles and practices in the past several decades that have contributed significantly to this medium's ever-growing popularity and diversity. Particularly fascinating is a chapter devoted to tattooed women that includes photographs from the turn of the century to the present.