The Tattoo Story

Tattoos have surged since few decades into an amazing art form and is appreciated for the same. The history of it too has been found since time immemorial. Its history has apparently gone back to the Neolithic age where skin and various other art objects were found as evidences in mummified form.

However, the debate for the world’s oldest person with a tattoo has come to an end, for now. It has been found that Otzi the iceman has the oldest etching which dates to 3300 BC. Found in mummified form, the man who apparently died from an arrow wound has had 61 tattoos all over his body. In this bunch, it is said that 19 groups of black lines ranging from 1 to 3 mm in thickness and 7 to 40 mm long. These include groups of parallel lines running along the longitudinal axis of his body and to both sides of the lumbar spine, as well as a cruciform mark behind the right knee and on the right ankle, and parallel lines around the left wrist. The greatest concentration of markings is found on his legs, which together exhibit 12 groups of lines. A microscopic examination of samples collected from these tattoos revealed that they were created from pigment manufactured out of fireplace ash or soot.

It was thought that an unidentified South American Chinchorro mummyhad the oldest tattoosbut then Mr. Otzi joined the party and was declared the oldest “Tattooed” person.  Scientist believe that otzi is for now the oldest tattooed man but there might be more, as the practice might have been very popular and widespread at that time.

Tattoos, however, has played a very important role in the history of how society functioned and the traditions that people lived in. In Egypt, women had tattoos indicating status and sometimes were also used as a process to heal from diseases. On the other hand, in 17thcentury Japan used tattoos to mark criminals on the forehead. India too has its share of tattoo history, ranging from temporary tattoos like mehndi on wedding occasions to religious permanent ones, we have not been left behind.

The Europeans upheld the tradition of tattooing for many years. There was widespread tattooing in the Europe, but for a long time only among the sailors and the low-class people. It spread to the upper class during 19th century, wherein even royalties like Edward VII and George V had etching on their body.

In the west, however, the tattoo tradition had vanished and seemed to resurface post world wars.Etchings were a big taboo and were done onlyby delinquents and rebels who were condemned. In 1960s, during the hepatitis breakout the tattoo industry was again hit as people believed that they would be infected from the contact if the needle.

The perception has taken a total turn around now as more and more people seem to want to be tattooed. The number of people who want to be etched is high and is expected to increase. Furthermore, this new resurgence has brought on many more creative thinkers and idea makers into a stable and awesome career as a tattoo artist.

Leave a Reply