The History of Tattoos
To examine the history of tattooing one must focus on cultural significances, methods of tattooing, and society’s views of tattooing throughout the ages. The fascination with tattooing may seem to some people like a recent trend brought on by the over-exposure to the “rock and roll” celebrity lifestyle through television and music, but the art form has its roots buried deep in the heart of history.
Nowadays teenagers say they want tattoos for many different reasons. Some get tattoos to “fit in”; others to be rebellious against their authority figures, and still others simply want to express their individuality. It may seem like an odd idea that getting a tattoo can do all these very different things, but what a tattoo does is express one’s appreciation for one of the world’s oldest forms of artistic expression.
Society’s views on tattoos are as varied as the different styles of tattoos themselves. Different regions, cultures, religions, and eras all have had an opinion on how they viewed the art of permanently marking the body. For example, before the days of the now established organized religions it is thought that tattoos were believed to have spiritual or “magical” healing and protective powers if placed in the appropriate place. Probably one of the most well known examples is The Iceman, “Oetzi”.
According to the Tattoo Museum (vanishingtattoo.com, n.a), Oetzi was found in a glacier near Austria and Italy in 1991. Scientists estimate Oetzi is from around the time 3300 B.C. Oetzi had 57 tattoos most of which were focused around his lower back and ankles. It is a widely believed theory that these tattoos were, in fact, an ancient type of acupuncture since the tattoos are mainly located around the areas that would treat problems like osteoarthritis and digestive problems he would have dealt with.
In around 720 A.D. the Japanese began using tattooing as a way to mark criminals (vanishingtattoo.com, n.a). By the seventeenth...