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Journey of Ink – The Living Legacy of a Tribal Tattoo Collector

Journey of Ink documents Riaan’s genuine tribal tattoos, his pursuit to paint his body with the rarest of inks, and his encounters with the world’s tattoo masters.

The first time in history that a tattoo was painted onto a person’s flesh dates back to the Bronze Age. Several millennia ago, the primitive men and women considered inking their faces and bodies a sacred act – Riaan Jacobs aims to keep these traditions alive with Journey of Ink.  

“Since 2016, I have embarked on trips around the world to receive tattoos from the most unique artists, including the world’s oldest tattoo artist in the Philippines, Maori artists in New Zealand, magicians in Thailand, and many others. My aim is to be a showcase of the primitive tattoo methods as well as for those artists keeping that art alive.” Riaan Jacobs states that his journey is still incomplete and that he wishes to “educate people on how deep the history of tattooing goes in ancient cultures.”

His journey started in Madrid with a Nordic-style tattoo inked on his chest, back, and sleeve by Sean Parry of the Meatshop Tattoo studio. The depiction of Jörmungandr, a mythical beast from Norse mythology, on his upper body is one of the largest tattoos on Riaan’s body. 

Most Nordic-inspired tattoos feature runic symbols, including Riaan’s Jörmungandr. The upper rune on his shoulder is Odal which symbolizes unity and the connection to family, while the rune beneath it is a combination of Tiwaz, the rune of Tyr the Norse war god who presides over matters of law and justice, and Yngvi, the rune of balance and harmony. This particular tattoo also shows the Allfather Odin and Thor, the god of thunder. 

The second stop on Riaan’s journey led him to Milan, Italy, where he got a very detailed Snake tattoo on his left shoulder. The Journey of Ink continued the day after Jörmungandr was finalized. 

He states that he had always loved snakes and is aware of their symbolic meaning throughout different cultures. However, Riaan also adds that his snake tattoo wasn’t meant to signify anything in particular, stating that “This snake, however, is purely aesthetic as I love the style of Mirko Sata.” 

Riaan Jacobs got his next set of tattoos in the Czech Republic and Thailand. He tattooed a skull-headed swallow that signifies “rebirth and celebration of life.”

His trip to Bangkok resulted in several new additions, including Paetch Payatorn tattoo on his left shoulder, a boar that enforces a stronger personality and charismatic magnetism, as well as Hanuman, the demigod monkey, and the Kwai Tanu tattoo, which is meant to whisk evil spirits away with its brute strength. These tattoos are a combination of wards against evil and inscriptions of traditional spells. 

Riaan’s devotion to traditional tattoos and devotion to body inking is also embodied in the fact that he put his preserved skin as a non-fungible token on Open Sea. The highest bidder will get the privilege of owning Riaan’s tattooed skin after his passing. 

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Media Contact
Company Name: Journey of Ink
Contact Person: Riaan Jacobs
Email: Send Email
Country: South Africa

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