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The History of Tattoos


It is safe to say that nearly 50% of people from the age of 18 to 35 have at least one tattoo. So one might think where did tattoos come from and how long have they been around. The word tattoo comes from the Polynesian word, ‘tattoo’, which means to tap or to mark someone. It has been reported that tattoos have been around for nearly 5,000 years. Archaeologists have found that tattoos can be traced to such countries as Egypt, Roman, Greek and Japanese regions. Of course tattoos have not always been used for personal body art like most people use them as today.

Tattoos over the years have been used for several reasons, such as, symbols of rights, symbols of rank and seniority or being juniors, symbols of spirituality, devotion, religion, rewards and awards for bravery, amulets, talismans and security. Oddly enough tattoos were also used as a form a punishment; they were also used to mark someone as an outcast, as well as marking slaves and people who have been convicted of a crime.

There are still very few religions out there that require their followers to have a certain tattoo indicating that they are part of this particular religion and what their status maybe. This is still a common practice that is used today by gang members.

The very first electronic tattoo machine was invented in 1890, by American tattoo artist named Samuel O’Reilly. This is when the new era of tattoo started when people got tattoos on different parts of their body not signifying any association to a particular group. However, tattoos were still looked upon as non sense and they were only suitable for drunkards, sailors and sometimes, criminals.

Ironically, in today’s time tattoos are not looked down upon and are actually accepted and considered the hip cool thing to have. They are now considered as a fashion symbol and not a simple mark.

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