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For Life Or Longer

by / Friday, 28 November 2014 / Published in Art and Culture, Tattoos

Everyone knows that – short of surgical intervention – tattoos are for life. But now, with the help of the recently formed Foundation For The Art and Science of Tattooing, your tattoo can last forever.

The Amsterdam based foundation has a mission to preserve tattooed skin after death.  Interested parties can donate their tattoos by submitting a form, much as you would register as an organ donor. The cost of preserving your tattoo is based on the size of the piece, but fees start at 300 euros. The official donation form states that filing the form with them is not a contract, but rather a declaration of intent. That way, you maintain the right to change your mind at any time. 

Preserving tattooed skin after death is hardly a new idea, but this is perhaps the first time in history where a group has gone out of its way to ensure the consent of the person the tattoo belongs to.

Many of the preserved tattoos currently on display in museums where removed from prisons postmortem, often to maintain anonymity when cadavers were donated for research.



 These examples came from a collection made up entirely of 19th century Polish convicts.

(And you thought your hobbies were niche.)


So what’s the point? Why would anyone want their epidermis swimming around in formaldehyde after they spring the mortal coil?

Naturally, motivations will vary from donor to donor. But common themes include; wanting their body to go to good use after they’re done with it, wanting to know that a part of them will be saved and never forgotten, and wanting the art to be cherished forever. If it’s your intent, the foundation will even prepare and give the tattoo to your family as a free loan.


how-to-decorate-a-fireplace-mantel-frames(Take down those family photos, we need space to hang Grandma’s lower back tattoo)


So whether your interest is keeping it in the family, donating it to a university or museum, or simple leaving it in science’s capable hands, your tattoo can now have a second life after you’re gone. Kinda puts YOLO tattoos in an awkward position, doesn’t it?


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