A few interesting facts about Tattoos

A few interesting facts about Tattoos

The use of tattoos and its history is as varied, colourful and diverse as the people who bear them. For thousands of years people’s opinions of tattoos has often changed from being revered, socially accepted to being frowned upon.

The word tattoo is from the Polynesian word ‘ta’ to strike and the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ to mark something. History shows civilizations throughout the world have used tattoos as a form of self-expression, ideals, and religious belief, to disguise injuries and even to carry rebellious secrets.

Tattooing is one of the oldest forms of human body art. Evidence of early tattoos was first discovered in 1991 on the frozen remains of the Copper Age “Iceman” named by scientists as Otzi. His lower back, ankles, knees and feet were marked with small lines made by powdered charcoal.

Other examples are the Crusade warriors who identified themselves with a cross so they would be given a Christian burial should they be killed in battle.
Tattoos have been used to smuggle secret messages, once a slave carried a tattoo on his scalp beneath a thick head of his hair, once his head was shaved, that instructed Aristagoras in Greece to begin a rebellion during the 5th century.

For thousands of years Egyptians had tattoos to honour ‘Bes’, God of fertility and revelry.

The Ancient Romans banned all tattoos except as brands for criminals and the condemned, it was a fierce army of heavily tattooed Britons who changed the Roman soldiers attitude, they saw their victors viewed the tattoo symbols they wore as a mark of honor, it was then the Roman soldiers ideals regarding tattoos changed and they began to tattoo their own body marks.

In 1066 King Harold 11 of England had a number of tattoos to identify himself in battle and in death.

Across the South and Central Pacific tattoos clearly represent religious belief and way of life, as seen when a Tahitian girl reached the age of sexual maturity, her buttocks would be tattooed black, Hawaiians after the death of a loved one tattoo their tongues with three dots. In Borneo, natives tattoo an eye on the palm of their hands as a spiritual guide that would lead them to the next life. Practices that still continue today.

During the 18 th Century European sailors began to return from overseas with elaborate tattoos and by the 1890’s tattoos became extremely fashionable in Europe with the invention of the electric tattoo machine. Primarily tattoos were worn only among aristocrats, Winston Churchill’s mother, had a snake tattooed on her wrist.

Today European tattooing continues to cross many social boundaries and is generally socially accepted in all class structures as an increasingly popular form of body art.

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Karen Loraine
The Makeup Box Studio
Horsham. W Sussex
Tel 07810 848208

Winner of the Southern Business Award

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