How Tattoos Have Evolved

Thesis: Throughout history the function and the purpose of tattoos have changed from originally being a sign of status or medicinal reasons, and other reasons to the present day form of entertainment.The earliest record of tattoos dates back 5000 years. What is known today as the ???Ice Man??? was found in 1991. The scientists named him Otzi. According to where the markings were found it is seemed to be believed that the tattoos were used as some type of treatment for pain. In around 2000BC female dancers and girls that were known to be involved in prostitution were marked so people would know what they were.
As time went on the Ancient Romans didn??™t believe in having tattoos on the body because they thought it to be impure to the body. Except for the people that broke the law which were tattooed as a brand to show that they were criminals. After the 12th century tattooing kind of disappeared until the 18th century. By then tattoos became important to the people of the Islands. The women used them to show sexual maturity, mourning, and spirituality. These women usually used soot to make their tattoos. They wanted the markings to be dark or black. Other ancient cultures used yellow rather then the dark colors, such as the Inuit. The Nubians of south Egypt preferred the color blue. The tattoos that were used in these times were usually dots, dashes, lines and diamonds. The Russians about 2400 years ago were known for the tattoos in the form of animals. They were used for decoration only, but they also had symbols of status rank. Tattoos in Japan were first done on clay figures. These figures were shaped like humans that represented the dead. It was thought that these tattoos had religious or magical importance. This had been dated back to about 3000BC. The Horis which were known to be masters and eventually made the full body suit tattoo. In 297 AD first documented the body suit in Japan were put on men for decoration only. The men that wore this body suit were known for being in the gangster class. In 1769, the Islanders gave the west our modern term ???tattoo.??? These tattoos became popular with the European sailors and coalminers to show the danger in both of these professions. The sailors got anchor tattoos and the coalminers got lamp tattoos. The Europeans in the 1820??™s tattooed the heads of slaves and commoners that were captured. They sold tattooed heads of killed slaves until 1831 when the British made the importation of human heads illegal. The ancient Britons which were Romans were tattooed as a mark of high status. They tattooed the shapes of beasts. The Maori men of New Zealand considered the heads an important part of the body. The face which they thought to be the most important was tattooed with an elaborate tattoo. This was regarded as marks of the most highest status. Every tattoo was different; they contained specific status, rank, ancestry, and ability. They used sharp bones to chisel cuts into the face and then soot-based pigment that was tapped into the open wounds. The Maori women tattooed around their mouths and chins as a way of preventing wrinkles and did this until the early 1970??™s. In 1940 during the Holocaust concentration camp prisoners were tattooed with letters and numbers to identify them. Those numbers and letters were also used to identify the prisoners that were registered and died.
The earliest known instruments were a sharpened shell and sharpened bones. The first structured instruments were a set of hard wooden handled sharp point knives which were dated to 3000BC. Archaeologist W.M.F. Petrie at the side of Abydos discovered these knives and another set of bronze instruments c.1450BC. They resembled wide flattened needles. In1891the first tattoo machine was patented by a New York inventor Samuel O??™Reilly. Tattoos today are done very different. They are applied with a gun of many needles wrapped as one. The safety of today??™s tattoos is also very different. Today every needle has to be sterilized in an autoclave. It is very important to see an autoclave in the shop that you go to get a tattoo. This is just one sign that the shop is clean. Another way of telling if the shop is clean is that the tattooing machine is wrapped in plastic. And never just go and get a tattoo, make sure you research or go to the shop a day before you get your tattoo and watch the artist. If there is something that you don??™t like about what you see be sure to ask questions.
In the world of today tattoos are done for many different reasons. There are those that think the art is just beautiful, so they tattoo a lot of their body. Then you have those that want a tattoo as a reminder of a special or sad event. Tattooing now a days can be very extreme with things such as portraits of their families, body tattoos where the any part or the whole body is covered.
Franklin-Barbajosa, C. (2004) Tattoos: Pigments of Imagination. National Geographic Magazine, retrieved from
Lineberry, C. (2007) Tattoos The Ancient and Mysterious History., retrieved from
Baldwin, C. The History of Tattoos. retrieved from
Rosenthal, G. The Evolution of Tattooing in Auschwitz Concentration Camp Complex. Jewish Virtual Library, retrieved from

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