The first tattoo known to man, was found on Otzi, also known as the Iceman, in 1991. However, Otzi himself dates back to over 4,000 B.C. Fifty-eight total tattoos were found on Otzi, made up only of simple dots and lines. No real symbolism could be made out of these designs. However, scientists have come to a theory that these tattoos were part of a medical or spiritual healing process.
The process of early age tattooing was long and painful. Some of the first tools used in tattooing were made of bone, stone, or wood. There were mainly two types of tools used in the process of making most tribal tattoos: a small rake-like shaped tool, and another plain rod with a flat surface. The rake-shaped tool was used to make the design of the tattoo. It would first be dipped into its ink or dye, and then punctured into the skin by being tapped by the flat tool. Other processes consisted of scratching the skin and then rubbing in the ink.
One of the earliest tattoos were tribal tattoos. This means there were tattoos that different cultural tribes would have for certain meanings and expression. Polynesian tattooing was one of the most original and artistic tattooing of ancient times. It consisted of very sophisticated, detailed geometrical designs. The Polynesian people would add more and more tattoos to themselves until their body was completely covered. They believed it was a sign of beauty and strength to be tattooed. Mexicans tattooed their idols and gods on their skin. The Spaniards who discovered the designs on the Mexicans, were shocked as they had never seen this work before and called it Ôthe work of Satan.Õ Warriors in these South American tribes were tattooed to remind them and others of their success and bravery in battle. In Japan, tattooing was mainly punishment. If you were a convicted criminal, you would get a mark on your forehead, convicted twice yet another, and if you were convicted a third time, you would receive a third and final mark making the Japanese symbol for ÔdogÕ. Royalty in England received tattoos from Japanese artists symbolizing wealth and authority.
In most cases, people get tattoos for a personal meaning. Whether it be to remember something great that happened in your life, to show affection or emotion, or because that specific design meant a lot to you, thereÕs no one reason for a tattoo. Everyone has a reason whether itÕs good or not. Other reasons for getting a tattoo are to be rebellious. Some young adults, i.e. teenagers, choose to get a tattoo because their parents simply donÕt want them to.
There are many different forms, as you have learned, and here are some examples of different tattoos. Henna tattoos are one of the oldest, and most original types of tattooing. The ink used in Henna tattooing is actually made from the henna plant. The ink first is a green powder and is mixed in different ways for different colors such as red and black, and different consistencies. Henna tattooing is made up from many different, complex and small designs. They are mostly made up of flowers, plants, vines, and different shapes, and are usually done on the hands or feet of a woman.
A second form of tattooing is the tribal tattoo. There are many reasons for the tribal tattoo. Some tribes use tattoos on their warriors to show bravery and strength. Others use the tattoo as a form of recognition for becoming a man. However, tattooing today has changed quite a bit since it first began.
Nowadays, tattooing is used as a form of expression, or rebellion. It is be completely voluntary for someone to get a tattoo. In fact, it is getting harder and harder to find individuals that do not have a tattoo.
Some reasons for getting a tattoo, well, they vary from person to person. Common reasons are for self-expression, doing something different or out of the ordinary, and being looked upon as dangerous or a rebel. Some people may get a tattoo to be able to reflect back on a certain time of their life that was important or special to them. However, tattooing can have itÕs negativity's as well.
There are many different negative sides of tattooing. Here are some examples: First and foremost, a tattoo is permanent and can only be removed with a special laser operation that can cost up to thousands of dollars. The tattoo may become extremely sensitive and could even get infected. Also, some work places wonÕt allow tattoos if they are visible from underneath of your uniform. Maybe, if you are looking to express yourself, and you canÕt get a tattoo, body piercing is the direction you should go.
The history of piercing comes from many different cultures, and different piercings have different heritages and backgrounds. Nose piercings were first discovered in the Middle East about 4,000 years ago. Tongue piercing was first practiced as part of rituals of the ancient Aztecs, Mayas, Kwakiutul, and Tlinglit tribes. This ritual was done to draw blood to prepare them for the gods. Ear lobe piercing is the most common and oldest type of piercing. Once again it was found on Otzi, the man found frozen in a glacier. He had pierced ears that had been stretched seven to eleven millimeters in diameter.
Later on, tribes believed that demons could enter your body through the ears, so they believed piercing them would make them rebel due to the metal. Surprisingly, there is a piercing that does not date back to ancient culture. That is, piercing of the navel or bellybutton. Bellybutton piercing has just recently been taken up, and is now very common. It occurs more in females then in males. This is thought to be because of the great difference in the female and male stomach.
Roman soldiers and warriors would pierce their nipples for mainly two reasons. One was to show strength, courage, and bravery, and the second was for the use of hanging their capes off of their leather breastplates while in battle. Nipple piercing in women started in the 14th century when the necklines of dresses dropped so incredibly low that practically half of the womenÕs breast would be exposed. Therefore they would decorate the nipple with gold chains, diamonds, silver, etc. to make them more attractive. Other piercings were used to make the body more decorative and attractive to their personal liking.
Reasons for piercing are somewhat different, however. One reason is certain individual wants to decorate their body because they think it makes them beautiful, or it is a custom in their family. However, the rebellious feeling comes back for piercings, too. Some people get them to look dangerous or what has been called punk, or because their parents won't like it.
The most common piercing is piercing of the earlobe. Men and women both are seen with studs, or rings in their lobes. The second most common, believe it or not, is the piercing of the septum, or the piece of flesh and cartilage between your nostrils. Other common piercings are that of the tongue, bellybutton, nose, and eyebrow.
Body art is popular because it makes a person feel different, or special. They can be reminded of a turning point in their life through tattoos. One especially touching example of this is the 9/11 attack. Many firefighters and police officers have stated that that particularly happening inspired them to get a special patriotic tattoo. Piercing is popular because it can accent and draw attention towards certain parts of the body, such as the ears and stomach. Mostly, young adults think that it is considered ÔcoolÕ to be tattooed or pierced. Though, they may not always take into account that they could be judged by their appearance from too much self-expression.
If you choose to get a tattoo or piercing, you may very easily become stereotyped or judged. Lots of people believe that individuals who are tattooed are mean, unsafe, and not someone they would like to encounter. The same thing goes with piercings, you get stereotyped and may be rejected or be the main focus of gossip. However, the positive side of body art is something you might have to learn as you experience it, and that is self-confidence. Be confident in what you believe in and learn how to drown out the rude comments or eerie whispers.
Not everyone has to get a tattoo, and not everyone may want to add more holes to their body. But, if you do, now you know the origin, symbolism, varieties, the modern version of body art, and the overall view of body decor.