Thursday, June 5, 2014

Body Art for Bored Teenagers

My 13-yo daughter came home from school one day with elaborate drawings on her legs and arms. Bored in science class, she grabbed a Sharpie and went at it.  At first I was upset, and told her how wrong it was and that she had to clean it off before the next day, blah blah.  But I was struck by the beauty of her designs, which were like a hybrid of henna and geometry.  When she said, "Mom, you should let me do this because you know I would never get a REAL tattoo," I thought, hey, she's right.   I decided to count it as a blessing that I have an artistic daughter who would never get a permanent tattoo.  Above is a design she did on her sister's leg.

Then I remembered the book I had read recently, The Garden of Evening Mists, by Malaysian writer Tan Twan Eng.  Such a complex and beautiful story about a Malaysian woman who was interred by the Japanese during WW2, and the Japanese gardener who becomes her lover.  Besides crafting sublime gardens, this guy was a secret expert in "horimono" the ancient Japanese art of body tattoo.  I won't even tell you about the sensual scenes in the book when he is working on her back. Now I am helpless against works of art, even on my children's skin.

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