With the ruling authorities deeming them barbaric, tattoos were banned in Japan around 1868. Subsequently, the depiction of tattoos in Japanese art disappeared. It was not until 1948, when tattoos were again legalized, that they began to return as subject matter for graphic arts; today they are again popular. Scottish artist Paul Binnie, who works in the style and technique of Japanese woodblock prints of the early 20th century, is partly responsible for that resurgence with his stunning images of tattooed men. The tattoo designs depicted here reference Kuniyoshi (1797–1861) and his student, Yoshitoshi (1839–1892), considered the last great masters of Edo period (1615–1868) woodblock prints.
See this and other works by Binnie in the exhibition Ebb & Flow: Cross-Cultural Prints in the Works on Paper Gallery.