If you take a look through time and do some research as to where tattoos originated from, you will discover an interesting history. The sailors who had voyaged to the Pacific Islands were giving themselves tattoos having witnessed the practice among natives who inhabited such regions. It was from the Pacific Islands that this practice was brought to the knowledge of Europeans. Despite this fact, the practice of tattooing was reputed to have started in Egypt and way before Egypt was even an organized society more than six millennia ago.
In the times of Ancient Egypt, tattoos weren’t created to be simply worn on bodies as just art, they had a lot of symbology as well as religious beliefs attached to them. The first tattoos were probably worn by women on their legs in order to brig protection during childbirth. The practice spread from Egypt to different other areas such as Africa and even Polynesia from where it was then introduced to the West.
Some scientists say that certain marks on the skin of the Iceman which is a mummified human body from way back in 3300 BC indicate that maybe the earliest evidence of tattoos existed then. More widely recognized are tattoos found on Egyptian and Nubian mummies dating from about 2000 B.C.
From this time on, various cultures have engaged in the practice of tattooing in one form or the other for various reasons, such reasons include spirituality as well as protection strength and history. However tattoos are also more than a symbol of pride, for some people they have been a depiction of a way of life and a culture. The Polynesians permitted both men and women to have tattoos but in most other cultures it was only normal for mean to bear tattoos. The Japanese people have been practicing the art of tattooing as far back as 400 BC not only for ornamental or narrative purposes but also in order to mark criminals and identify them.
Thomas Edison was reputed to have invented the first tattoo machine in 1876 as an electric engraver but years later it evolved into the machine that would start the new tattooing revolution. From this period onwards tattooing machines started to become more and more advanced. Samuel O’ Reilly worked on the original blueprints of Edison in order to create the electric pen which provided advancement in the way tattoos were etched onto the body.
The machine which is usually in use nowadays was made by Charlie Wagner and it is a dual coil reciprocating engraver specifically made for tattooing. Modern circuses always have one show or the other where a man or woman covered in tattoos is on display. This also played a role in what contributed to the history of tattoos in America.
Pope Hadrian banned tattoos as far back as 787 AD and for that reason there has always been one controversy or the other as far as tattoos are concerned. Because of an outbreak of Hepatitis in the 1960’s which was blamed on tattoos, a lot of states outlawed the practice. Tattooing has become synonymous with rebellion, gangs, dirty sailors, and motorcycles.
Nowadays after centuries following the origin of tattoos, they are becoming less of a taboo subject and more of an accepted art. More and more professional outlets are opening and artists are pushing boundaries with different media in terms of tattoo art.