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Tattoos no longer taboo in China Updated 24th August Tattoos have a long history in China. But for most of that history they were stigmatized, associated with prisoners, vagrants and the criminal underworld. Thanks in part to the influence of celebrities and sports stars, tattoos have become much more socially accepted in the past decade.
It's a trend driven by a younger generation that isn't afraid of standing out but also by the sophisticated skills of China's tattoo artists. People who wanted to get one were afraid of discrimination from society," says Liao Lijia, 28 a tattoo artist at Creation Tattoo in Beijing. Scores of parlors are opening up in cities across China, and many are taking up the tattoo gun hoping to get in on the increasingly lucrative trade. Wang Zi, 28, fashion deer, chose a hot air balloon tattoo. Credit: Courtesy of Wang Zi.
Getting inked is one way for young people to forge their own identity and mark life experiences -- bad or good. It's the most special part of your body, it makes you different. Shows your mind, your world," says Wang Zi, 28, a fashion deer.
She has a tattoo of a hot air balloon on her shoulder blade, a de she drew herself to cherish hood dream of flying in one. Du Wei, 28, works in IT in Beijing. She has a tattoo of a butterfly on her chest -- representing the memory of a baby she lost. Just as Chinese characters are a popular choice in the West -- David Beckham famously has a Chinese proverb tattooed on his torso -- in China some people like tattoos of English words and phrases.
British football player David Beckham shows his tattoo to fans during his visit to Peking University on March 24, in Beijing. Popular words include "love,"and "forever. Tattoo artist Da Hua shows off a quote scrawled over the forearm of one client that re, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
An example of Da Hua's work. Chinese flair. Asia has long had its own tattoo culture. Japan is famed for its bold and highly developed style.
Hong Kong is also a bastion -- the port city catering to British sailors of old, giving rise to a mixture of traditional western tattoos -- the rose, the anchor -- with oriental motifs such as the dragon and the tiger. China is starting to develop its own unique styles, drawing on both ancient and modern inspiration.
Qiao Zhengfei is a year-old tattoo artist who opened up her own studio in her native Xiamen before moving her business to Beijing. Asians with english tattoos specializes in "blackwork," an intricate form based on a style of embroidery. The former art theory student likes the fact that tattoos are a living embodiment of her work. They don't resonate with me. A trade or art? In China, some parlors are cubicle affairs, a small square room with a curtain and heavily tattooed proprietors.
Others boast large studios with grungy aesthetics and art adorning the walls. The Chinese tattoo artists I spoke to shied away from calling their work an art form, viewing it as a trade. Eight years ago, Zhao Liang graduated from teaching college after majoring in art and planned to find a teaching or civil service job. Since I have to support my family I thought I should find a job that can earn a living. I just thought life is going to be better and better. Lu-Hai Liang is a freelance journalist based in Beijing.
Researcher Danni Zhu contributed to this report.Asians with english tattoos
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