The History of Tattoos

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While most people are not aware of how far back tattoos and their uses are dated in history, tattoos date back thousands of years and have a variety of uses. Tattoos symbolize everything from personal experiences, religion, or simply art. There are literally thousands of designs and styles that variety from black to elaborate colorful schemes. Rather flaunted or hidden, sought as art or bought out of a whim, the tattoo has left its mark on generation after generation (Krakow, 1994). Throughout history tattooing has had many purposes that vary from culture, to person, to a specific date in history. The word tattoo, a Tahitian word meaning “to mark something”, has existed since 12,000 B.C. According to “A Brief History of Tattoos,” women in Borneo tattooed their symbols on their forearm indicting their particular skill. If a woman wore their symbol indicting she was a skilled weaver, her status as prime marriageable material was increased. In tribes, tattoos around the wrist and fingers were believed to ward away illness. The earliest record of tattoos, to date, was found in 1991 on the frozen remains of the “Iceman” scientist have named Otzi. His lower back, knees, ankles, and the foot were marked with a series of 57 small lines, made by rubbing powdered charcoal into vertical cuts. X-rays revived bone degeneration at the site of each tattoo, leading researchers to believe that Otzi’s people, ancestors of contemporary central and northern Europeans, may have used tattoos as medical treatments to reduce pain. Other than this were the tattoos found in Egypt during the time of the construction of the pyramids. As quickly as the Egyptians expanded their empire, so did the art of tattooing. The civilizations of Crete, Greece, Persia, and Arabia picked up and expanded the art form (A Brief History of Tattoos). The Greeks used tattooing for communication among spies by identifying them and showing their rank. Romans marked their criminals and slaves. This...
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