didn't spring up with the dawn of biker gangs and rock ‘n’
roll bands. They've been around for a long time and had many
different meaning over the course of history. Let's sketch out
some interesting anecdotes about tattoos for you now.
tattoos were created and developed?
years, scientists believed that Egyptians and Nubians were the
first people to tattoo their bodies .Then, in 1991, a mummy was
discovered, dating back to the Bronze. Age of about 3,300 B.C..
"The Iceman" as the specimen was dubbed, had several
markings on his body, including a cross on the inside ofhis knee
and lines on his ankle' and back. It is believed these tattoos
were made in a curative effort .
Being so advanced, the Egyptians reportedly spread the practice of
tattooing throughout the world. The pyramid building third and fourth
dynasties of Egypt developed international nations with Crete, Greece,
Persia and Arabia. The art of tattooing stretched out a11 the way to
SoutheaSt .Asia by 2 ,OOOB .C..
the same time, the Japanese became interested in the art hut only for
its decorative attributes, as opposed to magicaJ ones .6 The Japanese
tattoo artists were the llndisputed masters. Their use of colors,
perspective, and imaginative designs gave the practice a whole new
angle. During the fil~St millennium A.D., Japan adopted Chinese culture
in mal1y aspects and confined tattooing to branding wrongdoers .
In the Balkans, the Thracians8 had a different use for the craft.
Aristocrats, according to Herodotus, used it to show the world their
Although early Europeans dabbled with tattooing, they truly rediscovered
the art form when the world exploration of the post- Renaissance made
them seek out new cultures. It was their meeting with PolynesianlQ that
introduced them to tattooing. The word, in fact, is derived from the
Polynesian word tat tau, whjch means , "to mark."
of the early uses of tattoos were ornamental.However,a number of
civilizations had. practical applications for this craft. The Goths, a
tribe of Germanic barbarians famous for pillaging Roman settlements,used
tattoos to mark their slaves. Romans did the same with slaves and
In Tahiti, tattoos were a rite of passage and told the history of,the
person's life.Reaching adulthood, boys got one tattoo to commemorate the
event. Men were marked with another style when they got married .
Later,tattoos became the souvenir of choice for globetrottiing sailors
.Whenever they would reach an exotic locale, they would get a new tattoo
to mark the occasion, A dragon was a famous style that meant the sailor
had reached a "China station. At first, sailors would spend their
free time on the ship tattooing themselves and their mates. Soon after,
tattoo parlors were set up in the area, surrounding ports worldwide.
the middle of the 19th century, police officials believed that
half of the criminal underworldls in New Yolk City had tattoos.
Port areas were renowned for being rough places full of sailors
that were guilty of some clime or- aanother. This is most likely
how tattoos got such a bad reputation and "became associated
with rebels and delinquents .
did they di it?
In the Americas, native tribes used simple pricking to tattoo
their bodies or faces. In California, specifically, some groups
injected color into the scratches. Some northern tribes living in
and around the Arctic Circle (mostly inuit) made punctures with a
needle and ran a thread coated with soot through the skin.The
South Pacific community would tap pigment into the pricked skin
using a small rake-like instrument.
In New Zealand, the native, using a small bone-cutting tool, would
carve intricate shallow grooves on the face and buttocks ,20 and
infuse them with
Thanks to trading with Europeans, they were able to use a metal
apparatus and apply more traditional puncture methods .
1891, an Amerjcan by the name of Samuel O'Reilly patented the
modern tattoo machine. This hand-held contraption21, as we know it
today, makes a needle vibrate up and down very rapidly (
approximately several hundred vibrations per minute). The needle
penetrates the skin around one millimeter in depth and injects ink
into the skil1 at the dermis level.
Pop stars have them, as do lawyers, professional athletes,
soldiers, and mechanics - there's no social stigma attached to
people with tattoos. Today , tattoos are a fashion statement more
than a means of intimidation. And it's only natural that people
want to discover how this trend started .
Samuel O'Reilly was the first famous contemporary tattoo artist.
He set up a shop in New York's Chatham Square and was very popular
in his time. Tattoos were all the rage, all the way to the
financial crash ot' 1929.23 They became trendy in Amerjca again
around World War II,with the introduction of new designs like
cartoon characters. 1'attooing made another leap for
the mainstream in the '70s and '80s, when celebrities began
In the last decade, the policy of. global acceptance and worldwide
communication has not only made tattoos popular, but also
omnipresent25. With 5,000 years of tattooing tradition, nothing
indicates that this is a vanishing fad.