Tattoos – Ancient Practice, More Than Just a Modern Fad

Decorating the body with tattoos is quite popular among many people nowadays. However, getting a tattoo will surely be a significant decision in your life since it is undoubtedly more than just having a haircut. Remember, what you will place on your body will stay there probably for your whole life, or at least for quite a long time.

Therefore, it is obviously crucial that you select wisely, that you are aware about the entire process involved, and of course why you want to have that tattoo in the first place. So, before any needle is allowed to touch your skin, take all this into a thorough consideration.

There was a time when tattoos were seen as anti-social, but nowadays they have become quite trendy and fashionable. However, getting a stylish tattoo is more than just a fad. You may have seen one on your favorite rock star, boxer, or mixed martial arts cage fighter. But there’s more to it than just following in the footsteps of an idol.

Tattoos Viewed from a Cultural and Historical Perspective


The term “tattoo” is actually Polynesian. It was adopted into English after the many voyages of Captain James Cook to the Polynesian islands, specifically to Tahiti.

Tattoos have been around for centuries. It’s actually a practice that is held in common in various parts of the world. The earliest evidence of the practice of tattooing dates bac

k to 6000 BC. However, there is an indication that archaeologists may have stumbled upon tools used for tattooing skin that dated back to 60,000 BC.

Experts say that it is a kind of art that is performed both in ancient Europe and Asia. Yes, it’s both a form of art, and it is a cultural practice as well. People today may want ink on their skin as a form of self-expression but in ancient times, it meant a lot more.

There are a certain context and perspective to be considered before anyone gets a tattoo. You should figure out what they mean in your culture. Determine if its significant meaning in your current context will be for your benefit or not.

Tattoos in the Ancient World

Tattoos have a huge significance in the mysterious lands of the east. They actually symbolize a lot of things for many different Asian people. Some markings elevated persons to a higher rank in society. But there are some marks on the skin that show abasement in the eyes of society:

  • In ancient China, for instance, those who had tattoos were seen as savages or barbarians. However, there were small pockets in ancient Chinese’s society that became adept at painting entire bodies using needles. They can be considered as a subculture or a minority in their day.
  • Tattoos are pretty common in Southern India. They even called permanent tattoos as Pachakutharathu. However, if you go up north, the people of India in those parts call their permanent tattoos as Godna. These tattoos are cultural and status symbols in different societies in India.
  • Tattoos are also status symbols in ancient Egypt. However, only women wore tattoos in this part of the world. Some tattoos had religious significance, while others were used for healing purposes.
    In some extremes, tattoos were also used as a form of punishment. One of the oldest tattoos in the world were found on the mummies of several Egyptian women that date to 2000 BC.
  • In some of the northern tribes in the islands of the Philippines, tattoos are believed to be magic. Warriors, especially head hunters, would have tattoos that are believed to bring them good fortune and victory. Ink on skin also marked tribal leaders in these ancient communities, and sometimes they marked a certain rite of passage.
  • Tattooing served decorative as well as spiritual purposes in ancient Japan. However, things changed during the Meiji Era when the emperor banned tattooing in the country. In more modern times, those who had tattoos were viewed to be part of criminal organizations such as the Yakuza.
  • It is said that Anglo Saxon Kings wore tattoos on them. Whether that was a practice that was borrowed from the east, it is nevertheless a sign that the practice of tattooing was present even those early times. Some of the British upper class sported tattoos. This included Edward VII. Other members of royalty in Europe also had tattoos. The list includes Tsar Nicolas II (Russia), King Alfonso XIII (Spain), and King Alexander (Yugoslavia).

Tattoos Today

Another important thing to consider here is that the meanings and symbolism behind the use of tattoos change from generation to generation. This is true even in the same country or cultural group. Tattoos may lose their original meaning and may be viewed as a form of taboo by today’s standards.

Some people speculate that tattooing was reintroduced to the West. However, this is a misnomer since the practice is widespread throughout the world. For instance, it was pretty common for American sailors to have tattoos back in the 18th century.

You see, in the past tattoos have always been rated as a kind of body decoration symbolizing a sign of seniority, ranking, justice, religion and loyalty as well as someone’s bravery, a charm, an amulet or just a symbol of security. In fact until today, some religious cults still ask their worshipers to obtain that particular sort of marking. Therefore, these days it is clearly a misunderstanding to consider tattoos as something for someone who has spent time in a prison cell.

More Things to Think About Before Getting Inked

There are a lot of other things you should think about before getting a pretty fashionable tattoo. You should also know the risks involved when you get a tattoo. It’s not a good idea to get one tattoosfrom just any tattoo artist.

Choose a tattooist who practices good sanitation. They should be duly licensed and have a separate area to clean their work materials.

Furthermore, learn how to take care of your tattoo. It can get infected quite easily, especially when it’s still new. Get thorough advice on how to take care of your tattoo while it is still in the healing stage.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for your first tattoo, or if you are an experienced tattoo lover looking for another design. Tattoo Me Guide was set up to assist everyone in finding his or her dream tattoo.

Just check out the top tattoo design galleries with their vast collections of tattoo designs and discover their various meanings and which ones would harmonize with each other. Whether you are looking for perfect designs, for sleeve tattoos, for back tattoos, for angel tattoos or maybe just a temporary one, I’m sure you will find it here. So, don’t wait any longer, find your dream tattoo today.

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