FTA: More than simple decoration, the images symbolically proclaim the wearer’s background and rank within the complex social system of the jailed. E.g. each point on the star represents a year in prison.
Soviet researchers first discovered and studied this underground activity in the 1920s; photographs of prisoners from that period suggest an already elaborate and highly developed subculture.
As seen in Cronenberg’s Eastern Promises, starring Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts.