• Martin en Natascha Sastra
    Designer & Tattoo artist

    We both seek continuous inspiration and optimization, with as result the creation of our images.

  • Tel: +31 46 2047285
    Mail: hello@noventity.com
    Dorpstraat 79
    6122 CG Buchten
    The Netherlands


Ever wondered how Tattooed skin looks like Post mortem? Photographer Katarzyna Mirczak shows us in a not-so-gory & artistic way. These samples were collected from bodies of deceased inmates (as far back as 19th century Poland) & preserved to identify who’s who, and connections between convicts.

There are about 60 tattooed bits of skins preserved in jars, few of them featured in this article. The photographer (Mirczak) found them at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagellonian University in Krakow, Poland.Back then, it was forbidden for prisoners to tattoo themselves. Yet they find ways of doing so by using items within their reach such as clips, razor blades, wires, pins, pieces of glass & other items imaginable that are capable of puncturing the skin in order to leave a mark.

According to studies, the makeshift tattoo inks were formed using powdered charcoal, burned rubber, cork, pencil refills, ink, watercolor & crayons. These pigments are mixed with either water, urine, soap, cream or fat to achieve a certain consistency that makes the ink tattooable. These skins (with flesh still intact) are preserved in formalin because skins decompose very quickly. Some tattoos are biblical in nature, some are sexual, and others were about hate and revenge.

The tattoos back then, although materials and inks are limited, still look really cool! The subject matters and the way they were composed are awesome. If you look closely, this tattoo looks like it was hand-poked with something sharp and pointy, judging by the dotworks that create lines.

Isn’t it amazing how a tattoo can outlive its owner by means of preservation? These will certainly last for more years to come. God bless the souls of those who owned these skins, for a part of them shall serve education to all those who are curious and willing to learn…forever!


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