As a collector, curator and ethnographer, Henry Ling Roth (1855-1925) had wide-ranging interests, writing about insects, agriculture, the sugar industry, trade, textiles, archaeology and indigenous people in Australia, Africa, the Caribbean and South East Asia. He was one of many in the nascent discipline of anthropology intrigued by the body modifi cations encountered among ‘primitive races’ in the era of Britain’s most aggressive colonial expansion. In his major works on Tasmania (1890, 1899), Sarawak and North Borneo (1896), and Benin (1903), Ling Roth collated sources to give comprehensive accounts of body practices in these regions. He collected the material culture of body modifi cation for the Bankfi eld Museum, where he was Curator, and some of his artefacts were later acquired by the Horniman Museum. In particular, he became interested in the tattoo traditions of the Pacifi c Roth (1900a, 1901, 1905, 1906, nd [1923]).