Hunan man spends seven days turning torso into epic Song Dynasty tattoo

image courtesy of People’s Daily
image courtesy of People's Daily
image courtesy of People’s Daily
image courtesy of People's Daily image courtesy of People's Daily image courtesy of People's Daily image courtesy of People's Daily image courtesy of People's Daily image courtesy of People's Daily

A Hunan man lay motionless for 55-hours while a Song Dynasty scroll was tattooed into his flesh.

“Riverside Scene at QingMing Festival,” measuring 50 cm high and 38 cm wide, spans the entire length of Yang Zhenwei’s torso, and took seven days to complete, according to People’s Daily.

Designing the tattoo was the hardest part, said tattooist Ah Wei (pseudonym). That, and the 11-hour days.

Dated to the northern Song Dynasty, the original painting is an incredibly colorful, detailed depiction of Tomb Sweeping Day celebrations in an ancient riverside town. Ah and his wife spent five hours selecting and omitting sections of the original work to be included in the tattoo, and then redesigned the horizontal painting to fit the back’s vertical space.

Prep work took two days. Tattooing took five. Every morning, 24-year-old Yang walked into the Zhuzhou parlor at 10 a.m., and for 11-hours, lay motionless while Ah stenciled mountains, rivers and warriors across his flesh.

In his seven years of tattooing, Ah said he’s never encountered anything as spectacular as this Song Dynasty epic. Yang agreed, although “Riverside’s” final result has yet to be seen.

For the next two weeks, Yang’s back will peel, bruise and harden. Once scabbing has subsided, Ah will pick the needle back up and fill details, as well attend to errors that may have occurred during the original tattooing or healing process.

“Just to see my back now,” Yang said. “I think everything was worth it.”

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