How Did Tattoos Come into Existence?

Tattoos are one of the ancient media of art, and it has been a part of human civilization from a very long time. You may be unaware of this fact, but tattoos were initially used as an act of expressing oneself. Tattooing is the art of penetrating pigment into the skin, which has a different color from that of the skin. Through this process, various designs, shapes, and artistic pictures are drawn. Here, we are about to brief about how tattoos came into existence. 

When Tattoos came into existence? 

Turning back into history and browsing through archaeological records, it has been discovered that tattooing is practiced from ancient times. In some prehistoric sites of Portugal, Scandinavia, and France, archaeologists have unearthed tools used explicitly for tattooing in the ancient times. Further researches have proved that the devices are approximately 12,000 years old. The proof of tattoos being a part of ancient human civilization is the mummy of Otzi, which was found in the Alps. It is said that this mandates back to the 5th or 4th millennium BC.

How are tattoos created?

The first thing you must know that human skin has a couple of layers. When you opt to get a tattoo, it is done on the second layer of the skin. This second layer is called the dermis, where the pigment or the ink is deposited. As the dermis never sheds off like the epidermis, the tattoo remains intact. For a colorful tattoo, a variety of ink is injected into your skin. Tattoo artists create a variety of designs or pictures through these inks infused in the dermis of your skin. 

To create a tattoo, ink is injected into the dermis multiple times. In the traditional method, this process was carried out by hand, but in current times, there are tools. These tools are meant for tattooing only, and tattoo artists call it a gun or tattoo machine. Once the needle penetrates the skin, the ink flows in. There are three types of needles, but tattoo artists use around 20 to 25 needles of different tips. This is done to bring the most exquisite details in the tattoo. You can get a brilliant tattoo if you know the best tattoo shop in your neighborhood. 

History of Tattoos across the World

Find out how tattoo art has evolved over the years in different geographical regions:

1. China 

Different parts of the world have proved the existence of tattoos in different eras. Asian countries like China have also revealed the history of symbols through the mummies unearthed from the Xinjiang province. Among these mummies, there are some which date back to 2100 BC while some other dates back to 550 BC. Tattooing was highly stigmatized and was known as a barbaric act in ancient China. If you ever get an opportunity to go through classical Chinese literature, then you will see that bandits and folk heroes had tattoos back then. Convicted criminals had symbols drawn on their face in ancient China. It was a sign of warning for other people that this person is a criminal. 

2. Egypt

Egypt has been the hub of discovering mummies with tattoos drawn all over them. Studies and discoveries made on Egyptian mummies have revealed that these tattooed mummies date back to 2000 BC. Some theories suggest that these tattoos are done for decoration. On the contrary, there are theories that contradict this belief and suggest that tattoos were a part of ancient medical treatment. There are also some theories that tattooing was only allowed to be done on women. This theory changed when it was discovered that Nubian men had tattoos, and they existed from 300 to 400 BC.

3. Samoa 

Tattooing is an integral part of the Samoan culture and has been a part of their tradition for more than a thousand years now. History of the Samoan culture revealed that it is a part of the social culture too. What you know as a tattoo in modern-day English was once known as Tatau in Samoan language. For more than 2000 years now, the ancient practice of giving and receiving tattoos is still alive in Samoa. During this period, the tools and techniques haven’t changed at all. Samoan people still use ancient tools and techniques to give and get a tattoo. This ancient technique consisted of two main tools, turtle shell, and boar’s teeth. It took weeks to complete a traditional symbol, but the Samoan people love it that way. 

4. Ancient Greece & Rome

Ancient Greece and Rome have written records and some newly developed theories which prove the existence of tattoos back in the 5th century BC. Tattoos were a medium to mark war prisoners, criminals, and slaves. For example, the Athenians tattooed owls on the Samians after defeating them. In ancient Rome, soldiers and weaponry manufacturers were known to have tattoos on their bodies. This practice lasted till 9th century BC. Later on, in Rome, the slaves and the ones who paid taxes were marked with tattoos.

Today, modern tattooing is what we get at tattoo parlors. To be a part of this long-running cultural practice, you must indulge yourself in having a tattoo. 

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.