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Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia Hardcover – 5 Apr 2004


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Hardcover, 5 Apr 2004
£39.99 £4.20


Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Steidl / Fuel; First Thus edition (5 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3882439203
  • ISBN-13: 978-3882439205
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 12.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,304,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

The photographs, drawings and texts published here are part of a collection of 3.600 tattoos collected over thirty three years in St Petersburg's notorious Kresty prison by attendant Danzig Baldayev. He acknowledges the tattoos as his entrance into a secret world, where he became something as an ethnographer, setting down the ways of a closed society. The tattoos are artful, distasteful, sexually explicit and sometimes simply strange, reflecting as they do the lives and mores of convicts. There are skulls with swastikas, naked women, a smiling Al Capone, assorted demons, medieval knights in armor, daggers and blood, benign images of Christ, mosques and minarets, sweet-faced mothers and babies, tanks and a horned Lenin. Once the criminal language and tattoos were the code of a restricted world, then the world of the criminal became open and their language was diffused into society, but the tattoos remain the secret part.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Southworth on 27 July 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not an encyclopedia in the usual sense of a book with entries arranged in alphabetical order. There are a large number of black and white photographs and neat pen drawings of tattoos, accompanied by descriptions and context which are detailed enough to make this book useful to serious students of Soviet/Russian society and the Gulag prison camp system. Readers of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Irina Ratushinskaya will find material to interest them here. Men's and Women's tattoos are depicted, with motifs ranging from the sentimental through the profanely offensive to the blackly humourous.
This is a nicely produced book with cloth covered hardback binding, embossed on front and back covers. As recently as 25 years ago, it's contents would have had limited relevance outside of the Soviet Union. But given the increasing globalisation of crime today, police officers might this book useful, if only to get an idea of what they might be dealing with on a bad day at the office.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 May 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is truly one of those life changing books. It is surreal, vulgar, explicit and tender in equal measure. I have an interest in tattooing but my wife does not and she was as taken by the Alice in Wonderland otherness of this book as I was. Everything you have never nor will ever need to know about the Russian criminal underground and it's bizarrely profane tattoo culture.
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By SOFIA B. Kr on 6 Feb. 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is very interesting (for those who have some curiosity in such subjects). Many images and all tattoos meaning is explained. Found many details that I haven't had a clue about.
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