Preserving the Criminal Code Nov 14, 2010


How’s this for a dose of rad? This Polish University has a ton of prison tattoos preserved at their facilities and this is one of them! Here’s a little background:

“The tattoo collection at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland consists of 60 objects preserved in formaldehyde, a method devised by one of the experts employed by the Department at the turn of 20th century.

The tattoos were collected from the prisoners of the nearby state penitentiary on Montelupich Street as well as from the deceased on whom autopsies were performed.

The majority of the prison tattoos represent connections between the convicts. Besides gestures and mimics it is a kind of secret code – revealing why ‘informative’ tattoos appeared on uncovered body parts: face, neck or arms.

The collection was created with a view to deciphering the code – among prisoners known as a ‘pattern language’. By looking closely at the prisoners’ tattoos, their traits, temper, past, place of residence or the criminal group in which they were involved could be determined.”

Read up more here, at Foto8. Thanks Pawel!

  • anders

    wow! wonder how many people will now get copies of that tat!

  • dan waskie

    @anders: I was just thinking the same thing! I’d like to get it small somewhere, I’m polish as hell, and that thing is pretty grimey and rad.