Chronological History of Tattoos

By | October 15, 2012

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If you are interested in history of tattoos, you will be amazed reading what I found below. The story goes far back in time and the varying ways of using this practice around the world is fascinating.


Mankind has desired to wear ornamentation since the beginning of time through clothing, head dresses, jewellery, piercing and other adornments.

The oldest type of embellishment is the tattoos.

Evidences of mummified remains with tattoos have been discovered within Europe, Egypt and Siberia are proof that this practice has been used to mark bodies around the world for thousands of years.

“A less well known mummy from Khakasia,
whose tattoo only recently came to light at the
State Hermitage Museum”

The first origins discovered of history of tattoos date back to circa 3300 BC. “TZI”, the iceman, found in the Italian Alps, with what was first thought to be scars.

Since, these marks have been identified as tattoos. Once the remains were thawed, evidently that “TZI” was adorned with 57 various figures and designs on his body.

The history of tattoos reaches as far back as the history of humanity itself.

Documentation of tattoos has been found reaching thousands of years before the birth of Christ and by many religious group.


The Egyptian tattoo designs were visible on the walls of paintings as old as 2,000 BC.

They indicate that the Egyptian tattoos were completely different and hold fascinating visions to the current days practice of creating  body tattoo designs.

We can show proof of needling in Japan that dates back to the 5th century BC earliest known description of Japanese tattooing in 3AD.

The custom of tattooing in Japan is described in the third century
Chinese history Gishiwajinden, which is the oldest record mentioningJapanese tattoo designs.


Japan is called Wa

The men of “Wa”
tattoo their faces
and paint
most of the body
consisting of
original designs.

In Japan, there exists a vast history of tattoos
used by males and females of all ages.

Tattoos are called Wen Shen” or Ci Shen” in Chinese.
The expression signifies literally “puncture the body”.
history-of-tattoos-chinese-beckham         history-of-tattoos-ratzodiac

In 787 AD, Pope Hadrian would not recognize tattoos and declared it prohibited. In like kind, the Normans disliked tattooing and it finally vanished from most Western civilization around the 12th to 16th centuries.

In 1691, the modern tattoos resurfaced when the British explorer, William Dampier, returned from a sea voyage with a heavily tattooed Polynesianman known as Prince Giolo.

In London, the population was mesmerized by the extensive tattoos on Giolo. He made public appearances and revived an interest of the art for tattoos.

Captain James Cook, also returned with a guest, a heavily tattooedPolynesian named, Omai.

Suddenly tattoos had become in vogue with the intellectual elite.

In 1720, lettering tattoo designs and circle tattoo on the or forearms had been legalized as a mark of punishments, declaring the wearer to be an outcast or convicted of economic crimes and scams.

People have been forcibly tattooed. A well known example is definitely the identification method for inmates in Nazi concentration camps through the Holocaust.

Other cultures varied in their use of tattoos.


The Greek tattoo designs history is a bit different as their culture used tattoos as a sign of slavery.


Mark of a deserter from the British Army.

Mayans, Inca tattoos and Aztec tattoo designs were also used as a mark to symbolize a belonging to a tribal class or group.

history-of-tattoos-hawaiianhistory-of-tattoo-mayan_tattoo history-of-tattoos-maya history-of-tattoos-inca-starhistory-of-tattoos-maori
Maori tattoos were first discovered in New Zealand and date to circa 1769 among the Maori people.

Few of the most rare seen tattoos are the Hawaiian turtle or Hawaiian tattoo depicting beautiful orchids and rich gorgeous petals with vivid leaves.

history-of-tattoos-tattooboxTraditional needling tools include things like a special comb using fine needles carved from bone fragments or tortoiseshell, set to a wood handle.

With this long history of tattoos, we find the tattoo machine being  a relatively recent invention.

The first tattoo equipment was patented in 1891 about the same time that the Old school tattoos style.

Tattoo machines
 are strictly a method of puncturing the skin and pushing colored ink below the skin.


Ed Hardy, an American tattoo artist, born in Iowa in 1945 and raised in Southern California was one of the first to integrate Japanese tattoos and methods in his art. Tattoos were not just for bikers any more.

Tattoo shops have sprung up everywhere and this fine body art has struck a chord with the general population.


Various religious organizations have their own history of tattoo and view the tattoo as a fundamental element of their faith and each individual following this sect is required to wear a cool tattoo as a mark to symbolize their belonging and faith like awesome and stylish Celtic tattoo designs.

The American has used tattoo designs to show individuality as a fashion statement or simply as an attention grabber.

An American flag as an eagle tattoo is really an expression of freedom for United States citizens.

This is the reason why an American flag tattoo design is a method of distinguishing themselves and to show their pride.


Up to two-thirds of young Americans have a minimum of one tattoo.



Actually, this level of worldwide popularity increased greatly during the Second World War American soldiers returned for their tour of duty sporting new tattoo designs.

During the 60’s, the free-spirited, dope-smoking youth of the “hippie” generation brought the “cool” to the tattoo front and center.


Contemporary gangs have also required inking their mark for particular gang participation.

Many rough organizations likeMexican gangs used the tattoo as a way of identifying themselves with a gang or the belonging to the society ofprison inmates.

Today, there is a vast number of female tattoo gallery for woman that have enjoyed art tattoo to adorn their beautiful bodies with the looks of sophistication. From hot to sweet these tattoo designs have come a long way to make that fine art a personal statement.


Credit: click the image


The beginning techniques and methods of tattooing were not precise and there was no limit to the pain a man or woman would have to endure to receive their tattoo designs.

No pain killers or numbers were available. One just had to tough it out!

Early tattoo designs were simply black in color and design. During the 80’s the colors were introduced and have become preferred.

history-of-tattoos-american-sketchTattoos designs were sketched with the equipment and most artists did not possess the amazing sketching abilities that are now available.

History of tattoos shows us that many tattoo designs were drawn on clothing and if the design was received well by the customer, it was then transferred to the armslegslower back or shoulders.

Today, qualified and talented artists and strict health guidelines are followed in the many tattoo parlors open in most major cities.

Getting a cool tattoo for men tattooed pn you is among the most effective tips on how to be viewed as a trendy person as any other tattoos with meaning.

Click here if you are a qualified and talented tattoo artists

Tattooing can now be virtually being done on any part of the body you choose. Technology has even played a part in the advancement of tattoo designs. Most tattoo designs are now created on computers before transferring to the body.

Polynesian tattoo meanings since you will find a wide variety of Polynesian tattoo styles and designs consequently we will split them into two principal groups.

Today we see, tattoo conventions, art shows and even museum showings as acknowledgement the tattooing as art.

These events feature the work of fabulous tattoo artist and tattoo designers.

Let me know if you have more to add about History of Tattoos.

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