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History

Here is a history of the tattoo, No I didn't write all of this, copied it direct from this site here; http://www.designboom.com/history/tattoo_history.html


A brief history of tattoos

the word tattoo is said to has two major derivations- from
the polynesian word ‘ta’ which means striking something
and the tahitian word ‘tatau’ which means ‘to mark something’.

the history of tattoo began over 5000 years ago and is as
diverse as the people who wear them.

tattoos are created by inserting colored materials beneath
the skins surface. the first tattoos probably were created
by accident. someone had a small wound, and rubbed it
with a hand that was dirty with soot and ashes from the fire.
once the wound had healed, they saw that a mark stayed
permanently.

despite the social sciences' growing fascination with tattooing,
and the immense popularity of tattoos themselves,
the practice has not left much of a historical record.

egypt
written records, physical remains, and works of art relevant to
egyptian tattoo have virtually been ignored by earlier egyptologists
influenced by prevailing social attitudes toward the medium.
today however, we know that there have been bodies recovered
dating to as early XI dynasty exhibiting the art form of tattoo.
in 1891, archaeologists discovered the mummified remains
of amunet, a priestess of the goddess hathor, at thebes who
lived some time between 2160 BC and 1994 BC.
this female mummy displayed several lines and dots tattooed
about her body - grouping dots and/or dashes were aligned into
abstract geometric patterns. this art form was restricted
to women only, and usually these women were associated
with ritualistic practice.
the egyptians 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. by 2,000 BC the art of tattooing had stretched out all the
way to southeast asia .
the ainu (western asian nomads) then brought it with them
as they moved to japan.

polynesia
in pacific cultures tattooing has a huge historic significance.
polynesian tattooing is considered the most intricate and
skillful tattooing of the ancient world.
polynesian peoples, believe that a person's mana, their spiritual
power or life force, is displayed through their tattoo.
the vast majority of what we know today about these ancient
arts has been passed down through legends, songs, and ritual
ceremonies. elaborate geometrical designs which were often
added to, renewed, and embellished throughout the life of the
individual until they covered the entire body.

in samoa, the tradition of applying tattoo, or ‘tatau’, by hand,
has long been defined by rank and title, with chiefs and their
assistants, descending from notable families in the proper birth order.
the tattooing ceremonies for young chiefs, typically conducted at
the onset of puberty, were elaborate affairs and were a key part
of their ascendance to a leadership role.
the permanent marks left by the tattoo artists would forever
celebrate their endurance and dedication to cultural traditions.
the first europeans who set foot on samoan soil were members
of a 1787 french expedition. they got a closer look at the natives
and reported that ‘the men have their thighs painted or tattooed
in such a way that one would think them clothed,
although they are almost naked’. the mythological origins of
samoan tattooing and the extraordinary cross-cultural history
of tatau has been transported to the migrant communities of
new zealand, and later disseminated into various international
subcultures from auckland to the netherlands.

the hawaiian people had their traditional tattoo art,
known as ‘kakau’. it served them not only for ornamentation
and distinction, but to guard their health and spiritual well-being.
intricate patterns, mimicking woven reeds or other natural forms,
graced men's arms, legs, torso and face.
women were generally tattooed on the hand, fingers, wrists
and sometimes on their tongue.

the arrival of western missionaries forced this unique art form
into decline as tattooing has been discouraged or forbidden by
most christian churches throughout history.

new zealand
the maori of new zealand had created one of the most impressive
cultures of all polynesia. their tattoo, called ‘moko’, reflected their
refined artistry - using their woodcarving skills to carve skin.
the full-face moko was a mark of distinction, which communicated
their status, lines of descent and tribal affiliations. it recalled their
wearer's exploits in war and other great events of their life.

---
indonesia
borneo is one of the few places in the world where traditional
tribal tattooing is still practiced today just as it has been for
thousands of years. until recently many of the inland tribes had
little contact with the outside world.
as a result, they have preserved many aspects of their traditional
way of life, including tattooing.
borneo designs have gone all around the world to form the
basis of what the western people call ‘tribal’.

---
india / thailand
hanuman in india was a popular symbol of strength on
arms and legs. the mythical monk is still today one of the
most popular creations in thailand and myanmar.
they are put on the human body by monks who incorporate
magical powers to the design while tattooing.
women are excluded because monks are not allowed to be
touched by them and because thais believe women do not
need the extra boost as they are already strong enough on
their own.

---
africa
in africa, where people have dark skin, it is difficult to make
coloured tattoos as we know them.
but they want to be tattooed anyway, so they have developed
another technique - they make scarifications (this is not really
tattooing, but it is related to tattooing). made by lifting the skin a little,
and making a cut with a knife or some other sharp thing
special sands or ashes were rubbed in to make raised scars
in patterns on the body, it can be felt like braille lettering...
these patterns often follow local traditions.

north america
early jesuit accounts testify to the widespread practice of
tattooing among native americans.
among the chickasaw, outstanding warriors were recognised
by their tattoos. among the ontario iroquoians, elaborate
tattoos reflected high status. in north-west america,
inuit women's chins were tattooed to indicate marital status
and group identity.
the first permanent tattoo shop in new york city was settled up
in 1846 and began a tradition by tattooing military servicemen
from both sides of the civil war. samuel o'reilly invented the electric
tattooing machine in 1891.

england
explorers returned home with tattooed polynesians
to exhibit at fairs, in lecture halls and in dime museums,
to demonstrate the height of european civilization compared
to the ‘primitive natives’.
after captain cook returned from his voyage to polynesia
tattooing became a tradition in the british navy.
by the middle of the 18th century most british ports had
at least one professional tattoo artist in residence.
in 1862, the prince of wales, later to become king edward VII,
received his first tattoo - a jerusalem cross - on his arm.
he started a tattoo fad among the aristocracy when he was
tattooed before ascending to the throne.
in 1882, his sons, the duke of clarence and the duke of york
were tattooed by the japanese master tattooist, hori chiyo.

stereotypical and sensationalised association of tattoo design

sailor
sailors on their ships returned home with their own tattoos...
usually of a very basic style that only uses a minimum amount
of details making the tattoos look quite two dimensional and flat.
this often gives a cartoonish feeling and typical motifs would be flowers,
hearts, mermaids, ships, anchors, snakes, birds, and names.

criminality
for a long time, tattooing was the preserve of sailors and...
criminals!
in prison, the tattoo - professionally done and homemade-
indelibly imprint on their bodies what these men desire in their
souls: autonomy and identity.
the ultimate symbol for gang members are their gang tattoos,
getting a permanent mark is a sign of showing total commitment to
the gang. these tattoos can reveal lots of things, like,
who you are/what gang you're in/ what your beliefs are (racist etc..),
what you have done, where you have been, how many years
you have been in jail (also referred to as ‘dead time’) and even
things like how many you have killed.
known symbols include teardrops under the eye as well as spider
webs on the elbows to symbolize people killed.

circus
the popularity of tattooing during the latter part of the nineteenth
century and the first half of the twentieth century owed much to
the circus. when circuses prospered, tattooing prospered.
for over 70 years every major circus employed several completely
tattooed people. some were exhibited in sideshows;
others performed traditional circus acts such as juggling and
sword swallowing.

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