History of Tattoos – Ancient Ink Revisited

History of Tattoos – Immortal art studio presents:  Ancient Ink – Blood and Tattoos

Tattoos are a passionate topic today.  People get tattoos for many reasons.  Millions of variations have been applied and continue to be fashioned.  But tattoos are not a new obsession.  The history of tattoos is a novel, not a short story, and they have been here for a long time.

Oetzi The IcemanOetzi The Iceman

No one can really state just when the history of tattoos all started.  The oldest established tattoo was exposed in 1991.  It was found on a mummy known as Oetzi, an Iceman dated to be at least 5300 years of age.  His tattoos are comprised of horizontal and vertical lines.  There’s a certain amount of debate about the reason the tattoos are there.

Since discovery of the remains, researchers have been able to do little but guess that this most primeval type of tattoo was designed with the intent of fending off evil spirits, or that it may possibly have been a particular kind of rite-of-passage.

The most common opinion is that the tattoos were designed for curative purposes.  Oetzi’s fifty-seven tattoos are located on several joints on the body.  The belief is that the tattoos were created at the same time as a form of acupuncture was practiced to relieve painful joints.  In our day, the identical locations are used for acupuncture.  Other theories range from social position and ritual markings to ethnic marks or just preference.

oetzi-tattoosCombined on his spine and behind one knee and on one ankle, the Ice Man had roughly fifty-seven tattoos.  While it is impossible to do more than guess as to the actual rationale for them, it certainly demonstrates that tattoos should not be seen as exclusive to the contemporary era.

As the Ice Man was the most primitive mummified human remains discovered in Europe, today’s tattoo affectionados have history on their side–  there is nothing “contemporary” about the history of tattoos.

Ancient Egypt

The Egyptians are one of the most well known ancient cultures for tattoos.  Dating back to 2100 BC, discovered mummies have been found to be covered in assorted tattoos.  Women flaunted tattoo artwork that were limited to females only.  These designs were generally a series of lines and dots around the body.  Tattoos in Egyptian society are believed to have been types of ritual markings.

Oriental Tattoos

In Japan, tattoos had been originally used on clay figures.  These human shaped figures represented a deceased individual and have been found in the sepulchres of the person in whose likeness they were designed.  The tattoos were embossed or painted on the faces of the figures.  It is believed that these markings have religious or mystical connotation.  The figures have been found to be in tombs that have been dated from 3,000 BC.

Japan’s earliest acknowledged tattoo is from 297 AD and has been demonstrated to be for decorative purposes only. Tattoo designers were named the “Horis” in Japan. The Horis were acknowledged as masters and eventually created the full body suit tattoo.

Although Oriental symbols are quite fashionable for tattoos in America, it’s not commonly known that both the Japanese and Chinese cultures have held a deep-seated opposition to the practice of tattooing throughout history.  With both societal and religious viewpoints agreeing that tattooing is something which should not be engaged in, it’s still considered to be a way of contaminating one’s body.  For the ancient Chinese, tattooing was applied as a penalty for criminal activity, putting such visible marks on a person to forever brand him as being a law breaker.

Tattoos have been found to be present in history throughout the world.  They have been shown to be a representation of an assortment of things such as social rank, religious conviction and many times solely for adornment.  Found on men and women alike, tattoos have been discovered in every shape, dimension and color pattern conceivable.  Regardless of whether they have been shown to be something that was once held sacred or they are for decoration only, tattoos have been here for ages and will continue to be here for ages to come.



history of tattoos

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