Thursday, 26 April 2012

Tattoos Through The Ages

Tattoos-an ancient art form

Tattoos have been been in existence throughout human history. It's as much an ancient art form as it is a modern one, it's many cultural representations and diversity has made it one of the most celebrated and enduring art forms.

photo credit: Lion City Tattoo

Tattoos have been recorded on the human skin since prehistoric times. An 'iceman' dated circa 3300 BC was found with 57 tattoos including a cross design on his knee. A mummy dated 300BC was also found with elaborate tattoo designs on him.

Tattoo on the arm of mummy made more than 2500 years ago
Traditional Japanese Tebori Tatooing

The traditional Tattoo culture is at the very least, centuries old and spread far and wide all around the world. From China to Japan, Indonesia to Europe, Egypt to Polynesia, Philippines to India there has been plenty of tattooing going on among it's people. 

Ainu Tattoo designs from way back in time

Filipino Bontoc Tattoos
Ngapuhi Maori elder Kingi Taurua wearing Traditional Maori facial tattoos

Borneo: Dayak woman's Hand Tattoos, credit: H.F. Tilema
The very first written reference to the word "tattoo" ever recorded appears in the diary of an 18th century naturalist named Joseph Banks. He writes: "I shall now mention the way the mark themselves indelibly, each of them is so marked by their humor or disposition".  Things have not changed very much since then. Tattoos today are still a personal choice, from tattoo styles to choice of design and placement. The tattoo is a statement that pretty much reflects the wearer's humor or disposition. I believe it's like "wearing your heart on your sleeve", literally.

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