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Who invented tattoo

Tattoo - Origin and meaning of the tattoo. Tattoos were known thousands of years ago. It was mostly of ritual, occult or therapeutic importance. The tattoo is no longer frowned upon as a trademark by seafarers and criminals. People from all walks of life and nations now wear them as art, body jewelry or as an expression of their individuality. But there is actually much more to a tattoo than just the artistic ornamentation of the body.

Tattooing, an art that goes back thousands of years

Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine the exact year, but assumptions suggest that the first tattoos were known as early as around 12,000 BC. At that time it was probably about so-called dirty tattoos. Small wounds were inflicted on themselves or others and rubbed with ashes, which formed a permanent pattern. From around 8,000 BC. Pointed objects such as thorns or tattoo combs were used to pierce or scratch small holes in the skin and rub them with insoluble color pigments. In Chile, 7,000-year-old mummies were found with tattoos on their hands and feet, and the more than 5,000-year-old glacier mummy Ötzi also had a number of signs on her skin.

Polynesia, Japan and the Maori, the origin of the tattoo

Often the origin of tattooing is suspected to be among the Polynesians. Although they had known the art of this skin decoration for a long time, they were hardly the only ones. It is now believed that tattooing developed independently in a number of ethnic cultures. From the Polynesian area only the name, which can be traced back to the word "tatau", comes from, which means something like "to strike wounds" or "to draw".

Particularly elaborate and extensive tattoos have come down to us from the Scythians, an equestrian people of the Russian steppe regions and the Caucasus region. And an extraordinary shape is also known from Japan. The so-called "Irezumi" covers the whole body with the exception of the hands, feet and head. The pictures are always closely related and tell a story.

The mostly geometric tattoos of the New Zealand Maori often even include the head and gums. These traditional patterns, especially the face tattoo, the so-called moko, are very individual and represent a kind of award for their wearer. It was not until the 19th century that the modern tattoo found its way through the ocean to Europe and America by seafarers. They had the art of tattooing taught by the natives or brought one on their ship.

The importance of the tattoo through the ages

The Maori patterns carved and dyed into the skin have always had a deeper meaning. They were considered an honorable feature of their tribe, their social position and their life experience. In Tibet and India, tattoos were used after a bereavement in order to overcome emotional pain and to keep the deceased in memory forever through the drawing in the skin. It was different in some areas of Africa. Here an impending birth was the decisive factor for a tattoo. During pregnancy, for example, attempts were made to influence the child's gender and career through the skin patterns. And tattoos were also often used for therapeutic purposes in Africa, for example against rheumatism and to strengthen the immune system. Often the color red was used for this, which was ascribed healing effects. The Berber women of North Africa still have tattoos done in the hope of warding off evil forces and demons, or they wear the ornament of a palm branch on their hands to promote fertility.

But the tattoo not only has a ritual, occult or therapeutic effect, it was also used for identification. In ancient Rome, for example, the name of the emperor was engraved on the back of the hand of members of the army in order to prevent desertions. During the Middle Ages, like branding, they were used to identify criminals. National Socialism in Germany also knew this method of labeling. The members of the SS had their blood group stabbed on the inside of the left upper arm and the inmates of a concentration camp were given the prisoner number.

For a long time, tattoos had a daring touch among the western population. It was mainly reserved for seafarers and prisoners. It was not until the 1960s that the tattoo of hippies, punks and rockers, who wore them out of protest or to express their individuality, was gradually made suitable for society. Meanwhile, tattoos can be found in all layers and in the most varied of styles.

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