Since the dawn of time, tattoos have been used for all kinds of purposes. Tattoos have served as symbols of rights, symbols of rank or seniority, symbols of spirituality, devotion, religion, rewards for bravery and security. In ancient times, they were also used as symbols of punishment, slavery and conviction. However, over the past century, tattoos have been most frequently used as body art.
The art of tattooing cannot be traced back to a specific time or place. One of the oldest tattoos however, was found to be engraved on the back of a well - preserved natural mummy of a man (now known as “Otzi the Iceman”) who was buried alive on the slopes of the Alps over 5000 years ago. However, research shows that if the skin rots after death, evidence of a tattoo completely disappears. This means that tattoos may have been around for longer than 5000 years, yet there’s no evidence to prove this.
Numerous mummies that were excavated from the pyramids in Egypt have also been found to have tattoos. These tattoos however, were engraved near waists of the women who longed for children and were a symbol of their goddess of fertility. There has been evidence to suggest that in the past tattooing was done for medicinal purposes and that the pigments used in tattoos had some sort of healing effect. For example, societies in the Arctic believe tattoos have powers that can ward off illness or protect people from all types of harm. They believed diseases such as rheumatism were caused by an imbalance in their souls, caused by evil spirits. They thought that these evil spirits entered their bodies through their joints, so they tattooed designs on their joints in an attempt to block them out. Furthermore, ‘protective’ or ‘guardian’ tattoos could