Tattoos

The earliest time I saw a tattoo was on a bandit in a cartoon. A pirate would brandish his anchor tattoo on the screen and I would stare in awe. The awe switched to fright when I started seeing Hollywood gangster movies. Seeing them now on musicians has only helped fuel my conspiracy buffy-ness.

Tahiti, July 1769, aboard the Endeavour,
Cook first noted his observations about the indigenous body modification and is the first recorded use of the word tattoo. In the Ship’s log book recorded this entry:

“Both sexes paint their Bodys, Tattow, as it is called in their Language. This is done by inflating the Colour of Black under their skins, in such a manner as to be indelible. This method of Tattowing I shall now
describe…As this is a painful operation especially the Tattowing of their Buttocks, it is performed but once in their Lifetimes.”

Tattoos were often considered a part of paganism and were prohibited, this was during the gradual process of Christianization in Europe. According to Robert Graves in his book The Greek Myths tattooing was common amongst certain religious groups in the ancient Mediterranean world. However, during the classic Greek period tattooing was only common among slaves.

In ancient China , tattoos we’re considered a barbaric practice. Though modern China does chop the heads off criminals.

One tattooed mummy was extracted from the permafrost of Argos. The tattooing was of animals carried out in a curvilinear style. The Man of Pazyryk, a Scythian chieftain, is tattooed with an extensive and detailed range of fish, monsters and a series of dots that lined up along the spine and around the right ankle. This must be what lil’ Wayne must look like naked. Not like I have seen him naked. God forbid.

The Māori people of New Zealand practised a form of tattooing known as Tā moko. In the colonial period Tā moko fell out of use cos apparently nobody else wanted to die, you ask why? well, the Europeans loved collecting Mokomokai, the tattooed heads. Yup! They loved the tattoos that much.

In modern times, tattoos were usually hearts, arrows, lips, anchors, etc. Everyone recognized tattooing as a well-established art form. Over the last three decades, tattooing has undergone dramatic changes. In the 1970s, artists trained in traditional fine art disciplines began to embrace tattooing and brought with them entirely new sorts of sophisticated imagery and technique. Advances in electric needle machines and pigments provided them with new ranges of colour, delicacy of detail and aesthetic possibilities. The cultural status of tattooing has steadily evolved from that of an anti-social activity in the 1960s to that of a trendy fashion statement in the 1990s. First adopted and flaunted by influential rock stars like the Rolling Stones in the early 1970s, tattooing had, by the late 1980s, become accepted by ever broader segments of mainstream society. Today, tattoos are routinely seen on celebrities who play a significant role in setting the culture’s contemporary mores and behavior patterns and they have decided to set us back to the ancient times again.

image

A tattoo on the right arm of a
Scythian chieftain whose mummy
was discovered at Pazyryk ,
Russia . The tattoo was made
more than 2,500 years ago but it looks pretty much like what we see around today.

Sources: Tattooartist.com | Wikipedia

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