October 26, 2012
Tattoos have been around for thousands of years and are as diverse as the people who wear them. Tattooing varies from place to place and has represented status, religion and even punishment. The word tattoo is said to have two major derivations, the Polynesian words “ta” meaning: “striking something” and the Tahitian word “tatu” which means to “mark something”. The first known tattoos were believed to have been created by accident.
Evidence from Ancient Egypt, Greenland, Siberia and New Zealand show how global the art of tattoo is. But in 1991 the discovery of the 5,000 year old “ice man” who was found frozen on a mountain between Austria and Italy sparked a sudden interest in the origin of tattoos. He is the best preserved body from that time period. His skin bears an astonishing 57 tattoos. These were considered the earliest known evidence. Some of the tattoos consisted of a cross o9n the inside of his left knee. Six straight like above his kidney and parallel lines of his ankles. They assumed they were applied for therapeutic reasons.
Ancient Egyptians were the first people to spread the practice of tattooing. By 2,000 b.c the art had spread out all the way to south East Asia which then was brought to Japan and spread along the silk route. In Pacific cultures tattoos were considered a huge historic significance but when western missionaries arrived they forced this art form to decline, in most Christian churches this practice was discouraged.
There were many different methods of early tattooing that developed in different cultures. Some of the earliest tattooing instruments can be found in Europe. They consisted of a disk made of clay and sharpened bone needles, used to puncture the skin. Tattoos were and still are used to define one’s individuality and beliefs. At the turn of the century tattooing had begun to lose a great deal of credibility and the cultural view began to become...