TATS- Where Tattoos Came From
Tattoos have been around since the beginning of time. There is evidence that during the prehistoric era, people knew about and practiced tattooing in France, Portugal, and Scandinavia. The evidence found in these areas dates back to at least 12,000 years ago when tattooing was first discovered. One of the oldest tattoos was found on one of the Otzi Iceman; a mummy that was found in Otz Valley in the Alps. This tattoo is dated back to the 4th and 5th millennium BC. Throughout the years, the symbolism of tattoos has changed drastically. In Ancient Egypt, the Pharaohs had tattoos to show power and authority, while women in Egypt were tattooed to show they were prostitutes. While in the Americas, China, and Ancient Greece tattooing was “reserved” for Sailors, those of lower classes, and criminals. Today, tattooing is all about self-expression, and to many, is an art.
Ancient Egypt and India saw tattoos as healing methods and as religious worship, yet they were also used as marks of status/ punishment. In the Philippines, tattoos were marks that ranked accomplishments and many people believed tattoos had magical properties. While others loved tattoos, Christianity labeled tattooing as “a barbaric tradition” and it slowly faded away in Europe for a while until it returned with transoceanic travels in the 16th century. Some travelers that brought tattooing back to Europe were Sir Martin Frobisher, William Dampier, and Captain James Cook. These men brought indigenous people from places they have traveled too and they were often tattooed.
When tattoos were first introduced in Europe they were mainly seen on sailors and those of lower class. Ironically, over time tattoo artists became more proficient and tattooing became a hobby of the aristocracy which increased prices of the professional tattoo artists. Once tattooing became mainstream and cheaper again, it reverted back to being seen as a lower class mark. This began to change again in the 1960s, with the Hippie movement, and tattoos again became more mainstream as a show of self-expression. Now, at least one-fifth of adults in the USA have one or more tattoos, and all belong to different social classes. Rituals of tattooing have evolved over the centuries, and we will continue to observe how evolution continues!
At Stories of the Ink, we find tattoos fascinating and want to learn all about them. For more information about where tattoos originated from, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.