Few History Facts About Tattoos

Few History Facts About Tattoos

Fifty years ago, tattoos were the watermark of rebels and social outcasts—bikers, sailors, carnival freaks. But today, your average sorority girl probably has a unicorn on her ankle or a butterfly fluttering above her butt crack. Tattoos have been a part of the human experience since the Stone Age and were present in nearly every culture across the globe, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to Africans, Native Americans, and Polynesians. Below are some facts about tattoos..


The Iceman (3300–3200 BCE), whose physical remains are still intact, has the oldest tattoos that have been preserved. He has a black cross on the inside of his left knee, six straight lines on his lower back, and parallel lines on his ankles, legs, and wrists. When scientists X-rayed his body, they discovered joint disease under each tattoo, which makes them believe these tattoos were meant to relieve his pain.


Tattoo as a status symbol , was used from the middle of the eighteenth century till the early twentieth, tattoos were particularly popular with English and Russian royalty. They were so expensive that only the rich could afford them.

In 1862 Albert, the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, had a Jerusalem Cross tattooed on his arm on a visit to the Holy Land. When his sons, the Duke of Clarence and the Duke of York (later King George V) visited Japan in 1882 they both had dragons tattooed on their arms.

Among the Russian royal family, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Nicholas II all bore tattoos.

When tattoos became more affordable, they started to be deemed “trashy” until the tattoo renaissance in the mid-twentieth century.


Birth of the modern tattoo machine
The man who invented tattoo machines in 1891 was a New York tattoo artist named Samuel O’Reilly. He based his design on the autographic printer, an engraving machine invented by Thomas Edison.


Origins of the tattoo
The word tattoo derives from the Polynesian word ta, which describes the sound of a tattooing spike being hit against skin. The first recorded reference to the word tattoo is in the papers of Joseph Banks, a naturalist aboard Captain Cook’s ship. Europeans called tattoos “marks” or “prics” until then.
Also, Polynesian tattooing as it existed before the arrival of the Europeans in the South Pacific is considered to have been the most skillful.

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