Tattoo Art

The history of tattoo art

Hands up whoever invented the tattoo. We know someone must be responsible for it; unfortunately time seems to have erased our memories to the true tattoo pioneer. As a result, there are many conflicting stories as to what is the history of tattoo art. What we are sure about it the origins of the word "Tattoo", which comes from the Tahitian word "tatu" which translates as "to mark something".

Many ethnic groups and societies have a long connection with body art and tattoos. Perhaps one of the most well known is the Samoan culture, where the addition of a tattoo signifies a coming of age and the recognition that they are ready the lead their clan. In Samoa body art and tattoos can be traced back over 2,000 years.

The same is true for Egyptian tattoos; there are a number of examples of body art shown via wall paintings. Generally Egyptian wall paintings have been around for many thousands of years, so it is possible that Egypt have claim on creating the very first tattoo.

The earliest recorded device specifically made for tattooing was invented by Thomas Edison, the very same Thomas Edison who was responsible for the phonograph. However, it was a few years later in 1891 when Samuel O'Reilly invented the first electric tattoo machine, which was a marked improvement on Edison 's earlier work.

The introduction of the electronic tattoo machine was really the catalyst for widespread tattoo use in the Western world. Although because of people's religious beliefs, the practise of body arts or tattoos was mostly left to the undesirables, such as criminals, drunks and other low life's.

One interesting phenomenon with regards to tattoos is that throughout history, it is possible to distinguish a person's particular peer group based on their tattoos. For example, sailors will often have a tattoo of an anchor on their arms. Followers of certain genres of music will also have identifiable tattoos.

There has always tended to be a certain stigma associated with tattoos, many religions teach that it is wrong to change our appearance in any way. There was also a safety concern with regards to infections and disease. And of course opponents of tattoos have long since argued that a tattoo is for life, while body art might seem like a good idea when you're young, you may have a very different view when you're older and have children.

In the last few decades tattoos have become more socially acceptable. Endorsed by many celebrities, there is always a new wave of tattoo fans looking for that special unique design. Technology has also moved on since O'Reilly first invented the electronic tattoo machine, for one thing there is much less risk of infection. It is also possible to have your tattoos removed, although this will certainly cost you.


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