Tattoos Past and Present

Topics: Tattoo, Tattooing, Irezumi Pages: 9 (1551 words) Published: January 18, 2013
Tattoos Past and Present

Debra Nehring


Kimberly Stanley

Tattoos Past and Present

Some people may have tattoos and others may find them ugly or despise them but one

thing is true, tattoos are a part of the past and understanding where they came from can give us a

greater appreciation for them today. The Egyptians, the Japanese, the Chinese, and more all have

elaborate art histories whether it is buried in the pyramids, the temples, the sculptures, or caves

but how has our history books in school forgotten to mention the important history hidden in

tattoos? Tattoos have many meanings, and they are different all over the world and there past

leads directly to the present and if history repeats itself it may even tell us something about our

future. In this essay creating a timeline to conclusively draw a line through history too

today and understand the many traditions our culture still possesses. Tattoos are a

common part of our life because of recent discoveries we can give tattoos a past that leads to the


Iceman 3200 B.C.
Tattoos are part of our life but we forget that they are not new, in fact tattoos have been

around longer than we can significantly date. According to Lineberry, (n.d) the ”oldest man to

this date found is believed to have lived 5,200 years ago and possessed about 57 tattoos all over

his body in dot like formations, scientists believe because of the placement of the tattoos that

they were most likely to have been used for therapeutic purposes.” This information provides

evidence that tattoos date back to at least this time maybe much longer but this does provide

science with a starting point. It can be assumed the because of the placement that tattoos were

socially accepted as a form of healing. Dating anything back thousands of years has a high degree

of error because when carbon date anything Condender ministries states, “ the rate in which

carbon decays has to remain the same over the many thousands of years and we know this to not

be true due because environmental changes that can alter this process.” Since this man had so

many and is so much older than any other body we have discovered it is safe to conclude that

these markings and the placement of them leaves no doubt that these where tattoos and this is the

first clear starting point scientists have.

Egyptians 2000 B.C.
Second in this timeline is the Egyptians; we know the Egyptians where a very intellectual

civilization so there tattoos can contribute drastically to tattoo history. Based on research

Egyptians make our second most prominent civilizations to socially accept tattoos and have their

own meaning behind them. Lineberry, (n.d.) states “Egyptian tattoos are thought to date back at

least 4000 B.C. but the only proof is on figurines, the first real bodies that have been discovered

are said to date back to 2,000 B.C. ” Tattoos have not always had the same meanings, designs or

placement through time tattoos changed even in one civilization but according to Lineberry

(n.d.) “The earliest Egyptians that had tattoos where women and these tattoos where place

around there belly thighs and breasts though most said these women where dancing girls and

these tattoo’s protected them from sexually transmitted diseases.” Most believe the Egyptians

were one of the most accomplished and intellectual people of their time with proof of their

brilliance still standing in what remains of the pyramids in there construction and interpreting the

paintings in them so it would be very degrading to believe we will ever figure out the exact

reason behind every tattoo. The important part of history is that they exist and we are open to our

own interpretations on why.

Japanese 300 A.D.

Third, the...
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