A tattoo is a design which is permanently carved in the skin with the help of needles and ink. The word came from the Tahitian term "tatua" which means "to mark." This form of art has been used by people of all cultures & countries, for centuries. Even in ancient times decorating the skin with beautiful tattoos was a popular practice, but in the United States, tattoo have recently gained social acceptance.
History Of Tattoos
Different forms of tattoo art have been practiced by many different cultures of the world, over the centuries. It has been found that Egyptians started using tattoos as early as 4000 B.C. Japanese began the art of tattooing in around 500 B.C. They used this form of art for cosmetic and religious purposes. They even used tattoos as a brand known to the criminals as part of their punishment. The Japanese used to make tattoos by puncturing the skin with fine metal needles & creating multicolor designs. Eskimos tribes invented new technique of tattooing of using bone needles.
Origin Of Tattoos
In the 1769, Captain James Cook traveled to Tahitia and observed skin marking customs in the natives. In his book, The Voyage in H.M. Bark Endeavor, Cook described the term 'tatua' which "leaves an indelible mark on the skin." In the United States of America, tattoo shops were considered dangerous and were socially unacceptable. But this mindset is now changed & tattoos are becoming increasingly popular in United States among the people of every age. A German immigrant, Martin Hilderbrandt, got the honor of the first professional tattooist in United States.
South American Tattoos
Mummies from the 11th century have been found in Peru, with tattoos, by archaeologists. The excavations show that tattooing went through a lot of development and evolvement throughout the period before the onset of Inca period. It also shows that tattoos were common among both the genders. It has also been estimated that at least 30 percent of the tribal population was tattooed.
Gran Chaco, south of Amazon River, is a vast land situated in the heart of South America. This land covers parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. It is not a very fit land for human settlement. Irrespective of this several groups of indigenous people live on this land. The tattooing process in this land always had mysticism to it. Women are more heavily tattooed in these tribes than men. In these cultures, during primitive times, it was famous for a young girl of five to seven years of age to be marked on the forehead and with many more years adding to her life, more marks were put on her forehead. This was put in a design of half moon or small circles or crosses or lines on the face, etc. At the onset of puberty or maturity, girls had their faces tattooed completely which meant that these girls were ready to get married. These tattoos were done mostly by old women in the clan. The first step was to mark an outline on the face of the client with a piece of charcoal and then puncture the skin of the face with thorns from cactus. Then the dye made out of saliva and soot was stuffed inside the wound. After sometime, the skin used to get swollen up and blood used to flow down from these tattoo wounds. While the wound heals itself, the young female was told to hide in her fatherís house and abstain herself from eating fish, meat, etc. and was only allowed to feed on fruits. She was also advised to keep her tattoo wound wrapped in a cloth.
Tattooing In Modern United States
During initial times tattoos were made by hands, but in 1891 the first electric tattoo machine was issued to the Irish tattooist Samuel O'Reilly at the United States Patent Office. He began his business as a "tattoo parlor" in New York City. This was the first tattoo studio in the United States. Soon the tattoo parlors became the trend in the United States of America. Then, during the First and Second World Wars, military of United States adopted tattooing as a means of protection and remembrance. Conventions, magazines, and other kinds of exposure, made tattooing popular in the country.
Popularity Of Tattoos
People, now, have started appreciating the artistic merit of tattooing. Tattoos are frequently used to express personal and religious belief. It is now seen as a part of fashion and young generation is simply crazy about tattooing. The combination of technology, historical awareness and artistic ability has taken the art of tattooing to heights never imagined before. It has been seen that hand tattooing is also making a comeback in the United States again. Tattoo art is growing so fast today that there is hardly any country untouched by this form of art.