It can be hard to imagine that distant ancestors enjoyed having their most favorite designs immortalized on their bodies. However, believe it or not, tattooing is an integral part of world history. The early peoples of the world used tattoos as a way to depict a person’s social status. In many cases, these tattoos served a functional purpose such as identifying a tribal member or a member of a city’s elite. Some even used tattoos as a way to display their wealth by engraving powerful symbols that meant that they had power in the community.
Tattoos also have a rich history of being symbols of love and friendship. In some cultures, it was believed that tattoos could foretell a person’s future. These beliefs often led people to tattoo their loved ones onto their bodies to ensure their survival in the future. Another common theme across cultures is that of brotherhood and sisterhood; a tat representing two separate people with opposing beliefs and desires symbolically representing their relationship.
Today, the history of tattoos is an interesting one. Because art has been so widely embraced across the globe, there are various arguments as to how old certain styles actually are. The argument for the oldest style is based around the discovery of an ancient Egyptian tattoo in the ruins of a tomb in Egypt. The Egyptian tattoo depicted a person with large tattoos covering parts of his face. This led to the popular notion that ancient Egyptian culture had a rich history of tattooing.
The next most common theory surrounding the history of tattooing centers around the idea that the ancient Egyptians practiced the art of tattooing. These people did not, however, design their tattoos. Instead, they drew images on themselves using semi-permanent fluid-like ointments and mud. The Egyptians would then allow the image to dry, using a process called cauterization to seal the design. This practice allowed them to create tattoos that looked very similar to modern ones but required the artist to use a gun-like instrument to fire the ink at the skin rather than manually pressing it into it. Modern tattoos can only be done with needles, which are generally made out of surgical steel.
The last theory surrounding the history of tattoos is that they began as symbols used by ancient tribes. As the tribes moved from one territory to another, the tattoos on their bodies were more like markings used to mark their travels and identification with their new surroundings. Thus, the tattoo served as a means to mark its passage through life. The tattoo would often remind the people of something that they had once known or experienced.
No matter what the actual history of tattoos might be, one thing is for certain. Nowadays, you can choose from a wide variety of different designs to express yourself and convey your own individuality. However, if you choose to get inked, don’t be surprised if your first tattoo is a simple butterfly or a dragonfly. It may not always be the symbolism that you are looking for, but it certainly will be an interesting part of your body to be covered up with for the rest of your life.