22 September 2008

self-referential tattooing: the marx bros. and the khazars

Greek sources on the Khazar question are supported by an important document that the Daubmannus edition refers to as 'The Great Parchment.' According to this source, a Khazar legation was sent to the Byzantine Emperor Theophilus, and one of the envoys had the Khazars' history and topography tattooed on his body -- in the Khazar language, but using Hebrew letters.
// Dictionary of the Khazars, Milorad Pavic, 72-3

the defining feature of tattooing is that it is the making of indelible pigmented traces which are inside or underneath the skin ... behind what seems like a transparent layer ... The basic schema of tattooing is thus definable as the exteriorization of the interior which is simultaneously the interiorization of the exterior.
// Alfred Gell, Wrapping in Images: Tattooing in Polynesia (1993), found cited in Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England, by Juliet Fleming


Anonymous said...

Hi Whitney! What film is this from?

Whitney said...

Duck Soup, of course :)