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Tattoo history

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Tattoo history


Society has developed many different ways to identify who a person is or where they may come from. Some distinctions are by a skin color, or by the way a person speaks. Many years ago and even to this day tattoos have been distinguishing who a person is. Tattoos have been put onto both sexes to decorate, enhance, and modify the skin given to us at birth. One site said that "tattoos are self-motivated expressions of personal freedom and uniqueness" (web page). Each tribe uses tattoos for different reasons, some use them as a marking of status, where a person fits in their culture. Dayak tribes believed that tattoos symbolized an important function after death, this belief was also known in many American Indian tribes. The Chinese culture uses tattoos to distinguish a person who has been found guilty of a severe crime. In native North America tattooing was frequently associated with religious and magical practices. As tattooing became more popular it landed in England where the first royal family member became tattooed.

It is said that skin ornamentation is as ancient as Man himself. The oldest tattooed body known to date is that of Bronze Age man who died over 5000 years ago. He was found frozen intact in an Italian glazier. During examination he was found to have both arms, legs, and torso, covered with elaborate tattoos representing mythical creatures. Also reported at 15000 BC ice age rock carvings show tattooed figures, and 4200 BC Egyptian mummies wore tattoos.

The process of being tattooed as a man is much unlike that of a women. Each tribe completes the process in different and unusual ways. Kayans usually began the tattooing process during boyhood. If a man takes the head of an enemy he can have the backs of his hands and fingers covered with tattoos (Hose). Samoa tribes take several months to complete the tattooing process, it is a very strict ritual. The sequence of tattooing begins with the waist and progressing down to the knees, only working with the area the size of a hand each week. To a Soman man, this part of his life is very crucial, it is when he enters manhood. For the Ojibwa, tattoos were used for therapeutic reasons. They marked temples, forehead, and cheeks of those suffering from headaches and toothaches. In this tribe the ceremony was accompanied by songs and dances. Tattooing for the Apiaca Indian boys began at age 14 and consisted of a face tattoo. This meant a rectangle around the mouth, indicating that the boy could eat human flesh.

In many cases the women's tattoo process was made known to much extent. Kayan women are tattooed in complicated serial designs over the whole forearm, the backs of hands, and over the whole area of the thighs. This process that causes much pain and is a serious operation. To a Kayan girl this also has an elaborate ceremonial attached to this form of body ornamentation. The tattooing process can last as long as four years, beginning with her fingers and upper part of her feet at age ten. After about a year her forearms are completed and following that her thighs are partially tattooed, finishing them the next year. The goal of this process is to have her tattoo finished before she becomes pregnant, because it is considered immodest to be tattooed after she becomes a mother. Some of the possible complications with the tattooing process is the delay that can be caused. Delays are due to a severe illness because of other tattooing problems, or if a dead person is lying unburied in the house. This is considered a delay because, it said to be pemali to let blood during these occasions (web page). The tattoo of an Ao Naga woman takes place in the jungle where no men are present. They complete the process in four stages beginning with lines placed on her chin moving downward throughout the years.

The process of tattooing can be done in many different ways, and has changed greatly from time to time. First record of tattooing was done with a blackened stick in a fire then burnt onto human skin. For the Kayan tribe they used two or three prickers and an iron striker all kept in a wooden case. The striker is a short iron rod, half covered with a string lashing. The prickers are wooden rods with a short pointed head projecting at right angles; the head is attached to a lump of resin in which are embedded three or four short needles (web page). The pigment is made of a mixture of soot, water, and sugar cane juice. Before coloring on a persons body, they carve in high relief on blocks of wood which are then smeared with ink and pressed on the skin leaving an impression. To begin the process the tattooer stretches, with her feet, the skin of the part to be tattooed, and dips her pricker into the pigment. She follows the line of the impression driving the needle points into the skin. This operation is seemingly very painful and there is no antiseptic precautions ever taken. In the Soman culture the use of needles, sharpened awls, or thorns is needed. The artist does a great deal of rubbing out before any drawing is done on the body. Whatever the body part being tattooed is, it is very important to check for large veins and to shave off all hairs. The tattooer then pierces the skin and traces images onto the body. Ao Naga use an adze-like instrument to which a bunch of cane-thorns is attached. The black ...

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Keywords: tattoo history book, tattoo history facts, tattoo history in india, tattoo history documentary, tattoo history timeline, tattoo history in philippines, tattoo history steve gilbert, tattoo history in japan

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