History of Tattooing

history of tattooing 1

History of Tattooing

Tattoos have become rather popular in the recent past. They serve different purposes to those who wear them. To some, they are the ultimate definition of style and glamor while to others they carry deep sentimental value. Regardless of why you wear a tattoo, or why you want to get one, it is important that you learn a bit of history regarding tattoos.

The Origin of tattoos

It is argued that the practice of tattooing dates way back to about 12000 B.C. Although there is no scientifically accurate proof of this, one only has to look at the ancient Egyptians to realize the truth of this statement. Some of the eternally preserved mummies of Egypt have tattoos on their bodies. It goes without saying that tattooing is millennia old.

Tattooing in Asia

You will be surprised to learn that in some ancient civilizations, and especially in Asia, tattoos were not always a mark of grandeur and beauty. One such civilization is China. In ancient China, tattoos were used to mark criminals. The case was the same in Japan. The Japanese tradition was to mark criminals using rings- the more crimes one committed, the more the tattoos they got. In such an era, having a tattoo was not exactly enviable.

However, the Japanese tradition changed over time. In Japan, only royalty was allowed to dress flamboyantly and elaborately. This led commoners to turn to tattoos as a way of substituting for their lackluster dressing. It was only a matter of time before tattooing became a full- fledged form of art, which is a practice that lives on to this day.

Borneo women

But tattoos were not always frowned upon in the entire world. For Borneo women, having a tattoo was something to be proud of. The Borneo people hold weaving in very high esteem, and a woman who could weave well had a long list of aspiring suitors. As such, Borneo women would engrave beautiful and elaborate tattoos on their skin to show their prowess in weaving in a bid to attract suitors.


There is yet another group of people to whom tattoos held deep religious significance. Some would get tattoos to help them keep evil at bay. One vivid example is the pentagram, which is basically a star with five edges. People who get this tattoo often believe that it will protect them from evil forces.

Modern Perception

Today, nearly everyone who wants to get a tattoo can get it- for whichever purposes they intend it to serve. The next time you want to get a tattoo, you can pride yourself on knowing a little history of tattooing.