Criminal tattoos, 19th century

Criminal tattoos, 19th century

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Criminal tattoos. 19th-century illustration of various criminal tattoos, including those on the body and genitals of an ex-sailor (centre) arrested for swindling and murder. Such tattoos were often assigned specific meanings by criminologists. The tattoo at lower left (hands entwined around a pansy flower) was interpreted by Alexandre Lacassagne (an expert on criminal tattoos) as a reference to pederasty. Other entwined hands tattoos are at top. The tattoos at lower right and at centre left are references to masturbation. This illustration is from 'L'Homme Criminel', a French edition of 'L'Uomo Delinquente' (1876) by Italian criminologist and physician Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), considered the father of criminology.

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