Essay On The History Of Tattoos

The Evolution Of Tattoos Essay

1910 Words8 Pages

The Evolution of Tattoos They’re what you see on your friends, family and people walking on the streets. This growing debate on tattoos brings me to the point of the evolution of tattoos. Tattoos were once believed to be a risky trend and are now becoming more of the norm. As we know it tattoos are not as unusual as they once were. There are many different reasons behind why people get tattoos, for example personal losses, symbolism, or just the concept of it being art. Most believe tattooing is just another medium of art and it should be respected along with the tattoo artist who give them. A lot of people differ in opinion behind what, where, and how people should get their tattoos. A strong topic to think about is what to get as a…show more content…

So tattoos were used in a symbolic manner. As seen on television, movies about old Egyptian times embrace their characters with tattoos all over their bodies. But it seems as if in reality old Egyptians used tattoos as rituals for the gods to help them get something they wanted. The word “tattoo” comes from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ which means ‘to strike something’ and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ which means ‘to mark something’(DBoom). Both ways of saying it make sence and still do explain how modern day tattoos are done. In 1991 a mummie called “Otzi the Ice Man” was found in a mountain range between Italy and Austria, this mummie had to be 5000 years old. The mummie consisted of 57 tattoos around the knees, kidneys, and the ankles. All the tattoos were either vertical or parallel lines and most likely had to do with therapeutic reasons. The supposed reasoning behind the tattoos were some sort of treatment for arthritis. Compared to now and the past, the past usage for tattoos usually had to do with some symbolic reasoning. The Scythians were an ancient people whose graves were found in the Altai mountains of Southern Siberia. The graves were made of solid ice so the corpses were preserved very well (MSU). These corpses had tattoos on them of totems and game animals. These tattoos were symbolic because the game animals let us know that the Scythians liked to hunt. During the late 1700’s

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The History Of Tattoos Before 1500

Tattoos are a popular, common, and moderately well accepted form of art and self-expression in modern society. Tattooing has been practiced among people for an amazingly extended amount of time; archaeologists have found evidence of tattoos that dates as far back as 15,000BC. Tattoos have served many functions throughout history and in different cultures. They have been used as decoration, for punitive and religious purposes, to mark whom a slave's owner was, as well as to indicate a person's identity, occupation, and status.

Archeologists have found evidence of tattoos all over the world, and some of their finds date back to 15,000BC. In France, masked figures in the rock engraving of La Madeline show signs of body painting and possibly tattoos, this engraving dates back to about 15,000BC. In the islands of Tonga, bone chisels, used for tattooing, were found and they date back to about 2,000BC. In Japan, clay figures with facial masks were found and they are believed to depict tattoos, these figures date to about 5,000BC. Definite, solid physical evidence proving the use of tattoos in ancient history was discovered in September 1991 with the finding of the Ice Man in Alto Adige; he is dated back to about 3300BC. The Ice Man had lines tattooed on his back and legs. Many mummies that were excavated in Egypt and date to about 2,000BC have tattoos. Most of these tattoos consisted of a series of line and dots, of blue-black color, and they were usually found on women. In the 1950s a Scythian warrior was found in Siberia, he had elaborate tattoos of mythological animals and he was dated to about 500BC. There is definite physical evidence to prove that people from all different locations and cultures have been tattooing since ancient times. Considering that tattoos were being used in many different cultures, it is understandable that they carried different connotations, and were used for different purposes.

For the Greeks, the Romans, and other Mediterranean cultures tattooing was usually carried a bad stigma and was reserved for criminals, slaves, and prisoners of war. Mark Gustafson discusses the tattooing of prisoners of war. "...They marked some Thebans with the name or sign of Xerxes. Other sources indicate that it was customary for prisoners of war to be marked with the sign of their captors; for example Athenians would mark their prisoners with an owl." Tattoos were also used, as punishment for criminals, in this capacity they were quite effective considering that the wearer of the tattoo suffered the humiliation and exclusion of having everyone they met know of the crime they committed, because the crime was placed on their face for everyone to see. Gustafson elaborates, "...Those in power were well aware that the body can function as a permanently running advertisement of one's guilt and subjugation. Given the heavy yoke of a tattoo those released from their sentences and allowed to return home could never completely resume...

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