Despite a growing fascination with tattooing among social scientists - and the popularity of tattoos themselves in general - the practice of tattooing still lacks a comprehensive historical record. Until very recently, there was no good context for writing a serious world history of tattooing. The present volume for the first time manages to convey the richness of the history of tattooing from antiquity to the present day. Unlike most other tattoo books it does not describe one aspect but rather aims to convey the overall picture. Each of the seven continents is described in terms of tattoo history and tattoo practices. Thus the book provides the reader with a truly global view of tattooing. It adds new information and new examples and insights which help the reader to gain a new perspective. By combining empirical history, powerful cultural analysis, and a highly readable style, the author adds an important step to the ongoing effort of writing a meaningful cultural history of tattooing. He does not draw new conclusions or present shocking new theories, but suggests and invites the reader to form his own opinions. This publication presents the reader with an almost overwhelming amount of textual and visual information. From the well known examples from Tahiti to rarely seen Chinese tattoos, from the Ice Maiden to modern day Western tattoos; they are all there. Many of the approximately 400 colour illustrations are unique images that have never been published before.