Poster: "Coming with P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show on Earth, Captain Costentenus the Greek Albanian"
Color poster announcing one of P. T. Barnum's popular attractions of the 1870s and 1880s, Captain Costentenus, a man who was completely tatooed... Show moreColor poster announcing one of P. T. Barnum's popular attractions of the 1870s and 1880s, Captain Costentenus, a man who was completely tatooed save for the soles of his feet. Barnum promoted him as having suffered the head to toe tattoing as a punishment at the hands of Chinese captors, but the story was fabricated. Costentenus was considered a medical curiosity in his day and was probably more heavily tattoed than any other person in his time period, though he was not the first tattoed person to exhibit himself. The medium-sized poster, dating to about 1876, is titled at the top, "Coming with P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show on Earth." It features a detailed upper body portrait of Captain Costentenus showing him with dark hair parted in the center and a very full beard, his skin covered in light blue tattoos of various wild animals, imaginatively drawn. The designs include lions and other wild cats, elephants, serpents, and various types of birds, with red dots creating patterns in the spaces between the animals. Beneath the portrait is the subtitle, "Captain Costentenus the Greek Albanian! Tattooed from head to foot in Chinese Tartary, as punishment for engaging in rebellion against the king." The poster was printed by H.A. Thomas Lithographic Studio, 865 Broadway, N.Y. Show less