The History of Tattoos Essays

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A tattoo is a permanent mark or design made on the skin by a process of pricking and ingraining an indelible pigment into the punctures or by raising scars. This is the definition; however, to many a tattoo has more of an abstract, personal meaning. Tattoos symbolize individuality, experiences, status, religion, and art. They come in many shapes, sizes, colors, designs, and styles. The history behind the tattoo is just as fascinating as the tattoo itself. Whether flaunted or hidden, sought as art or bought out of a whim, the tattoo has left its mark on generation after generation (Krakow). The purpose of tattooing varies from culture to culture, person to person, and its place on the time line. The essay will examine the following …show more content…
For example, the ferocity of a tiger would belong to the tattooed person. The Ainu are noted for introducing tattoos to Japan where it developed into a religious and ceremonial rite. Dayak warriors who had "taken a head" had tattoos on their hands (“A Brief History of Tattoos”). The tattoos garnered respect and solidified the owner’s status for life. Polynesians developed tattoos to mark tribal communities, families, and rank. They brought their art to New Zealand and developed a facial style of tattooing called Moko which is still being used today (“A Brief History of Tattoos”). There is evidence that the Mayan, Incas, and Aztecs used tattooing in rituals as well as the isolated tribes of Alaska.

In the West, early Danes, Norse, and Saxons tattooed family crests (a tradition still practiced today). In 787 AD, Pope Hadrian banned tattooing, yet it still thrived in Britain until the Norman Invasion of 1066 when the Normans disdained tattooing. As a result tattooing disappeared from Western culture from the 12th to the 16th centuries. While tattooing diminished in the West, it thrived in Japan. Originally, it was used as a means of identifying criminals. First offenses were marked with a line across the forehead, a second crime was marked by adding an arch, and a third offense was marked by another line. Together these marks formed the Japanese character for "dog".

Anthropologists argue that this was the original "three strikes you’re out"…

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