Mar 11 Uncategorized
You know what a tattoo is, right? However, what you may not realize is that it’s an art form that dates back all the ay to 5000 BCE. Through history and cultures, tattoos have taken on many forms and meanings.
The Origin of Tattooing
The concept of tattooing was widespread at one point. In 1871, Charles Darwin wrote in “The Descent of Man,” that there’s no country in the world that didn’t practice tattooing or some type of permanent body decoration.
According to Karl von den Steinen, a 19th century German explorer and ethnologist, tattooing in the South American region evolved from the custom of decorating a person’s body with scars. This was achieved using plant sap that was rubbed into the wounds, which prevented bleeding and caused discoloration of the scar. The discoloration was considered a primitive type of tattoo.
In the book by David Livingstone, “Missionary Travels and Research in South Africa,” he wrote that many Africans would tattoo themselves by introducing a black substance beneath the skin to cause the raised scar. The Comanche and North American Apache warriors would rub earth into their battle wounds, which made scarring much more visible and they would then flaunt these within the tribe. In New Guinea, the pygmies would treat infections by rubbing herbs into the incisions created in the skin resulting in permanent scarring.
It is these stories that have suggested that tattooing likely arose from various locations through bloodletting practices, medical treatment, by chance, and through scarification rituals. The common assumption that tattooing had just a single origin has been discredited.
The Meaning Behind Modern Tattooing
The original meanings behind many tattoos have been lost. However, various body decorations, such as piercings, tattoos, and scarification have always been an obvious way to distinguish individuals in a group and those within a specific group in society. On a more personal level, tattoos are a part of a person’s identity.
Both culturally and historically, tattoos have been used as both marks of distinction, awarded for a certain achievement or to signify the transition into adulthood, along with sources of shame. Pain is an unavoidable part of tattooing.
On a tribal level, tattoos are often used to signify class, power, marital status, and outside the group, they can distinguish a friend from an enemy. In some tribes, tattoos on women were a symbol of beauty that also ensured the individual was no value to a nearby tribe.
Are You Ready for Your Own Tattoo?
If you are interested in tattooing there are more than a few meaningful options to consider. Take some time to consider what you want and what has meaning to you, as this is considered one of the driving factors for individuals getting a tattoo today. It’s also essential to find a skilled tattoo artist to ensure the tattooing process is not only quality but also done in a manner that will not lead to an infection or other issues.