Tattooing


En. 1301.203


10 August 2004


Tattooing is a very interesting work of art that is surrounded by controversy, because there are so many stereotypes, risks, and fashions that go along with it. Even though this art form has many risks involved, there are many people in this world who feel that they have to live life on the edge and they will do anything for a rush. Tattooing to some people fulfills this rush no matter the outcome they might see from it. Just to know that this form of art started many years ago makes many people feel like they have a piece of history on their body.


The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word “Tatu”, which means to mark something (“History 2”). Tattoos have existed since long before the birth of Jesus Christ (Rudzinski-Wiman 1). Even though this information is known, there is still no way possible to get an exact date when tattooing actually began; but, there have been many clues found to give us an idea of how long this art has been around. The earliest evidence of tattooing was the finding of the now famous iceman in the Otzal Alps between Austria and Italy. The iceman died some 5,300 years ago, which is about 3,330 B.C. Even though his body was old, it was preserved well enough to identify some of the tattoos on him (Rudzinski-Winman1). The Scythias, Egyptians, Numbian, and Greeks were also all a part of the history of tattooing. The Egyptian and Numbian mummies indicate that their art of tattooing was practiced around 2000 B.C.(“History 2”). The next discovery of tattooing was found in Greece. The Greeks were fascinated by the idea of tattoos as exotic beauty marks in the fourth and fifth centuries B.C. (Mayor1). As other cultures migrated, the art of tattooing was taken in and passed around. I know a lot of people didn’t realize how long this art has been around; most just think it probably came about recently. It is clear that tattooing has appeared on every continent throughout history and basically in every culture (Rudzinski-Wiman 3).


The methods and techniques of tattooing upgrade just the way computers and other electronics upgrade. As our society gets more advanced, our equipment upgrades right along with us. This is no different with tattooing machines, styles, and procedures of tattooing. The machinery involved in tattooing has changed drastically. In 1200 B.C. the Lapita’s used flat, chisel-shaped pieces of bone that were roughly 2 to 4 centimeters long and were sharpened at one end and resembled a comb. The instrument was then dipped into a pigment that was made of water and soot then hit with a small mallet to drive the pigment into the skin (Rudzinski-Wiman 2). In north and South America, many Indian tribes routinely tattooed the body or the face by simple bricking, and then some tribes in California introduced color into scratches. Many tribes of the Artic and Sub-artic, mostly Inuit, and some people in eastern Siberia, made needle punctures through which a thread coated with pigment (usually soot) was drawn underneath the skin. In Polynesia and Micronesia, they pricked into the skin by tapping on a tool shaped like a small rake. The Maori people of New Zealand, who are famous for their tattooing, used a wood carving technique. In the Moka style of Maori tattooing, striking a small bone-cutting tool used for shaping wood into the skin produced shallow colored grooves in distinctive, complex designs. After the Europeans arrived in the 1770s, the Maori began using the metal that settlers brought for a more conventional style of puncture tattooing (“History”3). Now there are needles and machines to do the work for us. In the late 1800s, the invention of the tattoo machine allowed tattooing to be done more quickly and cheaply (Gay and Whittington 8). A tattoo artist usually uses an electric handheld tattoo machine controlled with a foot pedal (Gay and Whittington 74). Tattoos are created by embedding ink with metal residue into the dermis through a series of rapid injections (Benton and Derosa 2). Also there are rules that tattoo artist have to abide by. A person has to be at least 18 years of age, and if they are