The heart of body art

By Ren Xiaojin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-29 07:37

The heart of body art

Mu Mu, a tattooist from Just Tattoo Studio, at work. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Changing views

"People's attitudes are shifting," George says.

"Tattoos are no longer a sign of gang affiliation. They're often ways to honor someone you love or a way to record a story on your skin."

Ningbo native Zhang Yuan got "Andne forhtedonna" inked on her lower back when she was in university years ago. The phrase by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges translates into modern English as "And not at all frightened".

"I was about to study abroad. I wanted to mark this new chapter of my life and remind myself to be brave," the 25-year-old says, recalling the reason behind the tattoo.

She hid it from her mother for years, since older people often still hold negative views about tattoos. But her mom eventually found out.

"She didn't freak out," Zhang says. "She stared at it for a while and asked if it hurt."

Ningbo serves as a microcosm for the greater acceptance of tattoos nationwide.

The city of 8 million people hosted the China International Tattoo Convention, one of the country's largest tattoo events, for the first time in October.

It featured over 200 booths for studios, including 70 from overseas, and another 40 for equipment suppliers.

Si Tu, who works with Yimo Tattoo Studio, the event's organizer, says: "Not everyone understands tattoos in Ningbo. But I can see acceptance is growing quickly."

David points out that it has taken time since Ningbo is a relatively conservative city, compared with metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai.

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