The word 'tattoo' has been obtained from the two major derivations - the Polynesian word 'ta' which means 'striking something' and the Tahitian word 'tatau' which means 'to mark something'. The history of the tattoo began over 5000 years ago. It was then rediscovered by the Europeans when they came in contact with the Polynesians and American Indians. In 1769, this term was first coined by Captain James Cook when he met the Tahitians during his expedition to the South Pacific. At that time, tattooing was considered very painful. In the European and U.S. societies, this form of body art was considered exotic. Inked Polynesians and Indians drew attention at circuses and fairs during the 18th and 19th centuries respectively. In the middle of the 3rd century, tattooing was associated with criminal activities in the Mediterranean region. Eventually, it became a mark of honor among these criminals. In Tahiti, tattoos described the history of a person. Men were marked when they become adults. The Hawaiians had specific tattoo gods. The designs related with each god are kept in the temples and tattooing is conducted by a priest. Nowadays, tattooing has been completely modified. Read to know more about its origin and history.
Origin & History Of Tattoo
Tattoo is one of the most popular body art forms of today. Read about the origin and history of tattoo.
History of Tattoo
- Different cultures had unique tattooing methods. For example, in California, some tribes introduced color into scratches. In the Eastern part of Siberia, people made needle punctures through which a thread coated with pigment called soot that was drawn underneath the skin.
- The Maori people of New Zealand, who are known to be world famous for their tattooing, applied a wood carving technique to this form of body art. In the moko style, designs were made on face and back by striking a small bone-cutting tool into the skin. In 1700s, after the arrival of the Europeans, the Maoris started using metal, which became a typical style of puncturing tattoos in the body.
- Around the same time, the Japanese developed interest in this art only because of its decorative attributes. Around 1 A.D. these people implemented tattooing to indicate wrongdoers like the Chinese did.
- Tattoos, in the ancient Asian cultures, were done to ensure good physical health. The Tibetans tattooed designs known as 'mantra wheels' with notes of chanting on energy points located on the human body. These patterns were elaborated to gain emotional, physical and spiritual harmony. Sometimes they were made on acupuncture points of the body to cure severe diseases.
- In China, tattooing of one's astrological symbol such as the pig or the horse was considered to bring good fortune. Images of carps or goldfish were drawn to bring wealth and prosperity.
- In the 19th century, after the invention of the electrical tattoo machine by Samuel O'Reilly, tattooing was modernized. It took only few minutes to make a design that was selected from the art displayed on the wall of a tattoo parlor. This machine was later converted into a tattoo gun.
- In the 1920's, cosmetic tattooing originated. It became a popular form of body art mainly among the rock stars. In the 1960's, tattoos were made on the shoulder, ankle and backside of the body. By the late 1980's, it was accepted by every society. Nowadays, we see tattoos on fashion models, movie stars, sports figures, rock stars and other public figures too.
- Two different classes of tattoo business have appeared in the last fifteen years. The first is a 'tattoo parlor' that gives the feeling of urban culture and offers proper hygiene. The other is a 'tattoo art studio' that mainly includes custom and fine art designs. Tattooing has now come to be one of the fastest growing businesses. It is recognized by the government as an art form and a profession.
Current tattoo professionals combine tradition with style! They make exclusive body art with different colors and inks that is suited to the customer's needs.