Annie Werner


When the first beachcombers started to return to Europe from the Pacific, their indigenously tattooed bodies were the subject of both fascination and horror. While some exhibited themselves in circuses, sideshows, museums and fairs, others published narratives of their experiences, and these narratives cumulatively came to constitute the genre of beachcomber narratives, which had been emerging steadily since the early 1800s. As William Cummings points out, the process of tattooing or being tattooed was often a ‘central trope’ (7) in the beachcomber narratives.



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