Brief History of Tattooing
The origin of tattooing although unknown is said to be more than four thousand years old and has a long history of style and culture. Tattooing was practiced from Alaska to Japan, from Siberia to Polynesia, from India to Africa. “It is a basic principle of social anthropology that the more widespread a practice, the older it is” (Ferguson 10). Many different techniques and styles of tattooing were formed over the years as people in different cultures formed their own unique ways of expressing their individuality.
In 1992, a prehistoric man known as “Iceman” was discovered frozen in a mountain between Austria and Italy. His ancient body had been covered by 58 tattoos in various places, including a cross on the left knee, six straight lines above the kidney, and numerous parallel lines on his ankles which were thought to be some kind of therapeutic markings for arthritis. Although no one knows exactly how far back the art of tattooing is dated, the man found in the mountain is thought to be more than five thousand years old (Gilbert 11). In Egypt, the mummy of a priestess named Amunet, was discovered having parallel lines tattooed on her arms and thighs as well as elliptical patterns below her navel. Amunet is said to date back to Dynasty XI (2160-1994 BC) (Gilbert 11).
Iceman and Amunet are good examples of the earliest known dates to which tattoos were acknowledged, but the actual “art” form of tattooing truly started with Polynesian’s in the south pacific. Polynesian tattooing was intricate and skillful, usually consisting of elaborate geometric designs which were expanded throughout someone’s life. At that time, Polynesian’s were sheltered from outside corruption, knowing only beauty and perfection, which in turn overflowed into their tattoos. The Polynesian culture would eventually find itself migrating out over the South Sea populating Tahiti, Marquises, Easter Island, Hawaii, and approximately one-hundred...