Body decoration is one of the most ancient ways to express a person’s creativity.
In different periods of civilization’s existence, tattoos were a tool to save yourself from evil spirits, a sign of dignity, and a talisman for a safe trip back home. The first tattoos appeared around 60 thousand years ago. They were not saved in written form but were found on the bodies of mummies (which are quite young, around 6 thousand years old).
Though it is known, that the art of body decorations with the help of tattoos existed in the period of the primitive communal system. It served not only as a decoration but pointed to the social status of its owner and moreover, it had magical power.
It served not only as a decoration but pointed to the social status of its owner and moreover, it had magical power.
There are no definite facts to explain how the tradition of getting tattoos appeared in the first place, but there is a theory that it was a logical process from natural damages people got during the Stone Age.
Meanwhile, tribal families were getting bigger and united into communities.
At this time, communities started to put ink on the skin on purpose, all of them had different meanings among the members.
Mainly the population of Indonesia and Polynesia,
where the practice of tattoos is still passed from generation to generation serves as the best anthropological proof of tattoos social meaningfulness. All the spheres of life of these people were connected with tattoos from birth to death, and there was no single part of the body that couldn’t be marked with tattoos. In ancient times, the face was the first part to be inked, as it is always visible.
Tribal people of Maori from New Zealand were and are still wearing masking tattoos called Moko.
These strange, mixed-up designs served as a constant warpaint and as a sign of dignity and social status.
Women belonging to the Japanese aborigines Ainu marked their marital status with face ink.
You could tell by the look at the design on the lips or cheeks if the woman was married or not, and even the number of kids she had. In other nations, the rich amount of tattoos symbolized the level of fertility and endurance of a woman. In some places, the situation with tattoos was totally ridiculous, children born from women with no tattoos were killed immediately.
Tattoos are connected with so-called transitional customs, either admission of a young man into a mature one, or transfer from this life into after death. Different nations believed that tattoos had magical features such as kids were protected from parent’s anger, adults were protected during fights, old people were safe from diseases. In the 18 th and 19th centuries, sailors used to put a huge cross on their backs in the hope to avoid physical punishment, which was spread around the English marines. In one of the Japanese provinces, the tattooed horizontal line across the forehead was done as a punishment for the first crime. Even in ancient China, a tattoo was used as one of the punishments means.
If to talk about our times, during the first World War the tattoo “D” meant that a person was a deserter.
Unfortunately during the Christian establishment, the art of tattooing was actively exterminated, as a sign of profane rituals. Civilization and technological progress lowered ancient art to the level of cheap consumer-grade. The demand for high-quality tattoos was so low, that the tattoo masters became lazy, they lost the stimulus for creativity and new stylistic inventions. And it was then when the first tattoo machine was invented in 1891 by O’Reilly.
Even this technological progress didn’t move the condition of the art of tattoos. Only due to the huge activation of youth culture in the 50-60s, a new generation of tattoo masters appeared.
Finally, the new experiments, innovations, and creative ideas were appearing here and there.
The tattoo became again a form of art. Thus, a new period, modern one started the period of tattoo development in which we live in now.
Types of Tattoos
The world of tattoos is very rich and is considered to be one of the streams in modern art. Therefore it is necessary to point out different types of tattoos. According to the application way there are:
- Permanent tattoos – They are applied under the skin by means of one or more needles. Such a type doesn’t lose totally its color during its life and can be removed only by means of modern equipment.
The major role in permanent tattoos is coloring material. Permanent tattoos may consist of one or more coloring materials.
- Temporary tattoos – They tend to lose the color and in some time disappear.
Usually, the coloring materials of plant origin are used in such types of tattoos (henna or more rare Basma).
Tattoo masters often use coloring made of artificial elements.
Temporary tattoos are often found in Muslim countries, where they serve as a key decoration of the bride’s body.
- Cosmetic tattoos(permanent make up) – This is a modern tendency among young women.
It is used to intensify new shades and outlines, masking skin defects. Usually, women prefer to tattoo eyebrows and eyes. Permanent makeup can be considered as a temporary tattoo, as it can serve from 1-5 years only.
All tattoos can be referred to like different styles. Due to historical tattoo development, there are few common styles, among which people are choosing their own sketches:
- Polynesian -This tattoo has the same long history as its culture.They are very unique and ancient.They don’t look like anything else. Usually, they are very complicated, consisting of a few meaningful layers.
A large number of tattoos and beautiful sketches were considered as a sign of a noble origin,
therefore the right to cover all bodies with ink had only headmen and their close relatives.
- Old school -Sometimes all new is well overlooked compared to the old. This style developed in the 19th century and didn’t lose its popularity, on the contrary! These tattoos were brought by the sailors who traveled to Polynesia, and Hawaii
and saw the sketches on the bodies of the local aborigines and were astonished by their beauty.
At that time all the tattoos carried a meaning which is seamen getting tattoos believed it is going to save them from shipwreck and falling overboard.
Thus, nowadays everybody can choose such a tattoo.
- Chicano style -What does it mean? Family devotion.
In the US,
among the Mexican bands were very popular the sketches of clowns, meaning,
“Laugh now, cry after”,
“My happy life, my sad life”.
Though the images of beautiful women and cars
are also popular in this style.
- Biomechanics-It is a unique stream in tattoo art,
which combines living with nonliving items.
It helps you feel like a cyborg in the human body.
Mechanical equipment in action
and static obtain a new meaning in this style.
- New school For those who value bright, brave and
this style will be the most appropriate.
It is noticeable from very far
attracts people’s attention right away!
It is totally different from all styles of tattoos.
- Dotwork -The pictures consist of numerous dots,
and look very effective
The number of details
used allows creating exactly
what you are looking for even
- Trible -It is a traditional tribe style.
It is a very extraordinary
and catchy one.
don’t only look familiar but also carry a deep meaning as this style
took its roots from ancient traditions.
- 3D tattoos -The idea for 3d tattoos
appeared as soon as the tattoo masters managed to draw volumetric designs of the picture, raising all pictures to the level of just few millimeters,
but the effect of the volume was tremendous.
If you are a real tattoo lover and addicted to it,
this style is for you to get away from simple
and well-tried patterns into really original 3D
The Procedure of Getting a Tattoo
The work for a tattoo starts with applying a rough drawing and a tattoo master decides by himself the way he is going to apply it. It depends on the peculiarities of the sketch, location, skin condition and personal preferences of the master. Some prefer to use a transfer pencil, which is moisturized during work. It allows drawing a picture one time only. The details and shades are not copied, these items are drawn while putting on the ink.
The rough drawing can be created on a special three layered paper. The first layer is a paper with a picture itself, the second – copy, and the one third is a transparent paper, reminding tracing one. The chosen design is transferred to the tracing paper. Then the drawing is transferred to the person’s body with the help of three layers.
The most experienced masters can do a drawing without any additional material, they just need a gel pen and their professional abilities. Such a way has a lot of advantages, as all the mistakes can be easily corrected by removing the signs of a pen. Besides the peculiarities of a person’s body, like muscles, birthmarks can be harmonized perfectly with a tattoo.
Putting designs on the body is done with special electric equipment, it is supplied with vibrating needles which put the coloring material under the skin. Needles can be of two types with holes through which the color goes, and without. Needles without holes are put into colors while the procedure is done. Nowadays, the electric machine for tattoos is the best so far, as it makes the sketch thoroughly colored. The vessels are minimally damaged thanks to not too deep pinholes.
Colors and Coloring Materials for Tattoos
The art of getting tattoos depends on the professionalism of the master, quality of the equipment and of course coloring material. It is a base for the perfect sketch on the body. High-quality colors will make sure that a tattoo will not fade and turn into a blurred spot.
The black color is the most used in tattoo designs. It is created on the base of animal’s bones carbons and consists of black iron oxide, oil tar and thus. Coloring materials are firm and insoluble materials. Therefore a liquid item that is mixed with coloring material is used. Usually, such items are water, spirit, and glycerin. There are also add ons used to provide the stability of color.
Tattoos and Religion
Being an ancient art, a tattoo is connected with different religions and each of them has its own attitude as to whether it is appropriate or not. Some religions do not allow any kind of sketches on the body, even carrying religious motifs. Here are some of the examples of the religious attitude on tattoos:
- Buddhism -According to Buddhism sketches depicting various animals
done by local monks in Tibet to everybody who wishes to have a tattoo protects people from evil forces.
But they believe also,
that one day in a year,
animals depicted on the tattoos inculcate into the owner’s body
- Islam -Body decoration is an old eastern tradition.
Egyptian women covered their faces with tattoos and men used to draw birds on their temples.
The question of tattoos and Islam is very serious. According to Islam, your body is a work of Allah or God.
By putting the permanent ink on,
you disgrace God’s work.
Therefore Henna tattoos are used instead because they are temporary and disappear in some time.
- Hinduism -This religion doesn’t restrict the tattoos
but on the contrary, is the source for many new designs
and the well known sign “Om”.
In the past, Hindu women
used to put the name of their husband on the forearm.
The only restricted tattoos
are those which somehow disrespect
- Christianity -When it comes to Christianity, the famous Bible quote is used in all times: ”Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos.
I am the Lord”. According to this quote it is obvious that tattoos are not allowed,
but one thing is forgotten: this quote is taken out from the context, which claims not to use pagan rituals or witchcraft.
Having a tattoo will not make you less religious,
that’s for sure.
People who already removed the tattoos know that this process takes more time than putting the ink on your body. Moreover removing tattoos hurts also more than its creation. Nevertheless, medicine has a wide range of tools to remove tattoos safely and for good:
- Dazzle painting -You can’t say that this way actually removes the tattoo, as the color material still stays in the skin. This method lies in putting on another tattoo instead of the old one, the paint of which is maximally close to the natural skin color. This method has its disadvantages, as the tattoo won’t look natural no matter how professionally it is performed, as skin in this area doesn’t have its own transparency. This method is used only to hide small tattoos or light-colored ones.
- Extirpation -The layer of the epidermis containing tattoo is cut out. This procedure is very painful, performed with local anesthesia and is suitable only for medium-sized tattoos. The main disadvantage of this tattoo is a scar. But you can remove the whole tattoo during only one session.
- Cryosurgery – This is deep freezing of skin with liquid nitrogen. It is applied to the layer of skin until a light layer of ice appears on the skin. Numerous applications of liquid nitrogen on the skin causes a thermal burn, this layer dries out and in a week or so falls apart. A small scar is left after this procedure which will disappear for good in some time.
- Mechanical method -Tattoos are removed with the upper layer of skin with the help of a cutter. The session is done in two parts. During the first part, the upper layer is removed, giving access to the coloring material. During the second part of the procedure, the deeper layer of the skin is removed. The procedure is not the safest one, as there is a high risk of getting infected. Therefore, you should be very careful with this method.
- Laser This method is burning a tattoo together with an upper layer of skin. To burn the tattoo with a laser is easier, faster and painless compared to the other ways. But there is a high possibility of leaving a scar, and the healing time is quite long.
Taking Care of a Tattoo
Every tattoo demands regular care for faster and painless healing. The skincare starts as soon as the bandage is removed. First of all, the skin should be washed with cool water, no drying since it is better not to touch the tattooed spot. The skin should dry in a natural way. In the first few days, it is necessary to wash it with soap while showering to prevent a sketch from drying. During a month, it is better to avoid direct sun or at least a strong sun protection cream should be used. But don’t totally block this spot, the air is very necessary! The less air is coming to the tattoo, the longer the healing process will take. Very often a thin crust appears on a newly done tattoo and it is forbidden to touch, scratch and remove it. Otherwise, it can lead to scars and infection.
A Few Fun Facts about Tattoos
- During the Vietnam war, one soldier made a smart tattoo: two bad words on the right palm side. The tattoo was seen only while making “Salute”, which was the reason he wasn’t taken into the army.
- Lucky Diamond Rich is a man with the biggest number of tattoos on this body. It is all covered with tattoos including ear lobes, inner part of the ear, skin between the fingers and even preputium.
- The Catholic church doesn’t mind the tattoos. Before tattoos were made on the bodies of people who just converted to Christianity. Crosses or crucifixions were done for purpose so that people couldn’t change religion. Nowadays there are more than a hundred officially registered associations of Christian tattoos, which offer such services as making a tattoo with pictures from the Bible and texts. If you wish, they can even bless it for you.
Getting Tattoos: Pros and Cons
One thing should be remembered for sure: getting a tattoo is for real and for a lifetime. This step should be carefully thought through. The main question to be asked is why you are getting it? Is it to stand out, to leave a memory mark or just for decoration? You should take into account the part of the body you plan to ink, how it is going to change with age, or your physical state, including pregnancy. Fast and abrupt decisions to get a tattoo usually don’t bring good results. Tattoos are a form of art and should be treated respectfully, considering their origin and history. They make people different from the others, leaving a shade of mystery of its owner because all the tattoos carry meaning. This thought should be taken into account, as tattoos will create a certain opinion about you. If you don’t really care – it’s perfect, but usually, people tend to be influenced by social opinion. Though it is your body and you are its master.
Sketches of Tattoos