Body modification has been found in all cultures throughout the world. Tattoos are a perpetual form of modification known historically and globally. It is impossible to visit a grocery store, drive down the street or watch television without seeing a tattoo. It is unknown when, or who developed the idea of tattoos, but there is evidence that the art has been around since the ancient Egyptian times, about five thousand years ago (Allen, 2009). Although tattoos are common in many cultures, it means different things to individual cultures. Tattoos have been a way to capture status and identity, religious and spiritual devotion, as well as containing symbolic reasoning.
Tattoos have served to display the status of an individual throughout history. In most other parts of the ancient world, tattoos were disfigurements used merely to identify criminals or slaves. The Romans would tattoo their slaves as a way to proclaim their status, and as a way to mark their territory. Tattoos on the slaves were a way of branding them like one would do to an animal. Besides demoralization, slaves were also marked with tattoos to identify them if they tried to escape from their masters, so they could be found easily. The Romans also used tattoos to display their status in the Roman army, but this was more rare (Allen, 2009).
Today, and throughout their cultural history, Tahitians wear tattoos as a privilege and to show the status of members of the tribe. “Tattoo” comes from the word “Tatu” originating from the Tahitians. “Tatu” is translated as “making a mark” (Carpenter, 2008). The tattoos consist of symmetrical shapes and designs that the men wear covering their entire bodies; their torsos, arms, legs, and ears, but excluding their face. Only priest and warriors carry tattoos on their faces and it is to show high rank and honor. Some of the different status categories to which the men can become a part of are: gods, priests, leaders of war, or... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2010, 09). Tattoos and Culture. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 09, 2010, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Tattoos-And-Culture-396963.html
"Tattoos and Culture" StudyMode.com. 09 2010. 09 2010 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Tattoos-And-Culture-396963.html>.
"Tattoos and Culture." StudyMode.com. 09, 2010. Accessed 09, 2010. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Tattoos-And-Culture-396963.html.