Human skin with tattooed inscription, France, 1860-1890
‘CAMPAGNE DE TUNISIE’ is tattooed onto human skin. The tattoo was once owned by Parisian surgeon Dr Villette. He worked in military hospitals and collected and preserved hundreds of samples from the bodies of dead French soldiers. Tunisia became part of the French Empire in 1881. We will never know what part the tattooed man played in the history of North Africa, but he clearly wanted to immortalise these events. This tattoo is one of a large group bought for Henry Wellcome’s medical collection by one of his agents, Captain Johnston-Saint.
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Glossary: human remains
term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'
Marking the skin with a design by puncturing it and inserting pigment. On humans a tattoo is often a form of decoration, but on animals it is usually a form of marking or branding.
Glossary: post mortem
A medical procedure that consists of an examination to discover the cause and manner of a death.