Human's put permanent ink into their bodies, in the form of art. We call them tattoos today. But why do we do this and where did it start? The history of tattoos and their cultural significance is ancient.
The earliest example of tattoo patterns comes from the discovery of the Iceman from the Italian-Austrian border. The Iceman was dated around 5,200 years old. Before this discovery, our earliest example came from Egyptian female mummies, dated to 2000 B.C., an article from the Smithsonian Mag said.
The placement of the tattoos on the Iceman was random, tattooed dots and small crosses were found on his lower spine, right knee and ankle joints. This is because they may have been used for therapeutic reasons, to relieve joint pain. Tattoos found on female Egyptian mummies may have been placed for therapeutic reasons as well. It has been assumed in the past that tattoos marked prostitutes or were meant to protect women again sexually transmitted disease. However, there is a new theory that suggests they may have been used to relieve pain while giving birth. The pattern of the tattoos around the abdomen, on the tops of the thighs and breasts suggests protection as the design would spread and expand like a net. Household deity Bes, the protector of women in labor, would be tattooed at the tops of the thighs, the article said.
Tattooing later became a barbaric tradition after the appearance of Christianity. Only sailors and those of the lower class had them. As tattoo artists perfected their craft, tattooing became a hobby for aristocrats who had money. Tattooing later became cheaper, and it was again associated with the lower class. It stayed that way until the 1960s with the rise of the hippie movement. It entered the mainstream, changing from a rebellious behavior to a form of self-expression. People of all sexes, economic classes, and ages had tattoos, an article from History of Tattoos said. However, in 1961, New York City banned tattoos with the rise of hepatitis B. They feared an epidemic. The City Council lifted the ban in 1997 and three months late, the very first New York Tattoo Convention was held, an article on How Stuff Works said.
Today, tattoos are extremely popular and used for many reasons. Expression, art, memorials, etc.
Best Friends Lindsay Eaton, Jessica Lewis, and Nicole DeGroat, got tattoos in honor of their fourth piece, Kelly Hunter, beating breast cancer.
Photo By: Lindsay Eaton
Tabitha Sherman got her tattoo in remembrance of her late Husband.
Photo By: Tabitha Sherman
"In honor of a great man, a great relationship. He played guitar, was a father. We met at maroon 5 and he was an amazing chef. Never went a day without saying I love you more," Sherman said.
One family shares a very meaningful tattoo. 7 member of the family have it so far.
Photo By: Sheridan Alexander
"Most of my Male cousins on my moms side and myself have a band around our Bicep. The band is the same to show our unity but the emblem in the middle is different. They show that we are individuals. We got it in light of us loosing a lot of our family members in a short period of time," Alexander said.
Once used for protection or for therapeutic pain relief, tattoos are now used as symbols, expressions and memorials. According to an article on History of Tattoos,
"36 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo."