Namabuki

(severed head)

 

Samurai would collect the heads of defeated 
opponents and present them as trophies to noble
 men, local lords or their masters (and maybe
 even to drinking buddies). Heads of soldiers and
 foot men would be collected in the hundreds and
 pilled high, however the heads of great worriors and 
formidable Samurai were often washed carefully 
and placed in a decorative lacquer box filled 
with saki for preservation. Not too unlike the 
reliquaries of christain saints which were being 
made in the same period many thousands of
 miles across the eurasian continent.

fast forward a few centuries and I'm tattooing 
Namakubi designs in a sweaty Soho basement...
ALL IMAGES COPYRIGHT JORDAN TEEAR