Step right up and behold the incredible Captain George Costentenus, "The Tattooed Greek"! This stunning advertising print captures the mesmerizing allure of a 19th-century sideshow attraction.
Captain George Costentenus was a performer who mesmerized audiences with his intricate and colorful tattoos - something completely foreign and taboo to audiences of the time. Born in Greece in the late 1800s, Costentenus
claimed to have been captured and tattooed against his will in Chinese Tartary (an area stretching east from Tibet through Mongolia, to Manchuria) as punishment for rebellion against the King. According to legend, the torture was carried out for 3 hours each day, over a period of seven months. His two companions, captured and sentenced along side him, died during the process. He was set free, or some say escaped, with 388 distinct tattoos.
The Captain was covered with traditional Burmese tattooing featuring flowers, animals, and writing in striking blue and red inks made of indigo and cinnabar. He was the first man to display a full body tattoo with his face, scalp, genitals and finger webbing all tattooed. The only parts of his body left bare were his ears, nose, and the soles of his feet.
Captain Costentenus exhibited himself under contract with PT Barnum in the United States, with the Great Farini at The Royal Aquarium in London (seen here), and the Folies Bergère in Paris. He is said to have retired wealthy, though with failing eyesight, to his estate in Greece.
This advertising print, created to promote Costentenus' performances, is a testament to his fame and the intrigue he inspired. The bold, eye-catching design features a detailed portrait of Costentenus baring his tattoos, and billed as "The Greek Albanian tattooed from head to foot". But the beauty of this print goes beyond the surface. It is also a window into a fascinating time in history, when sideshows were a popular form of entertainment and tattooing was still considered a taboo and mysterious art.
Add a touch of history and wonder to your home or office with this one-of-a-kind advertising print. Whether you're a fan of sideshow history, tattoo art, or just appreciate unique and striking designs, this print is sure to impress. So step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and order your own piece of tattooed history!