The art of tattoo designs continue to emerge along with the human race development. It is not possible to decipher when the first tattoo presented itself but it is believed to be more than 30,000 years ago.
Numerous Egyptian mummies have been found in pyramids displaying wrist tattoos. The women were believed to have been longing for a child and the tattoos were meant to act as a symbol fertility. Some reports suggest that tattoos may have served a medicinal purpose as the pigment had some type of curative or healing effect. It is also interesting to note that the word tattoo comes from the Polynesian word of “ta” that means to strike something.
A mummy known by the name of Oetzi was found in 1991 that was believed to be 5,300 years old that displayed vertical and horizontal lined tattoos. At least 57 markings were found on various joints on his body. The tattoos were believed to be a form of acupuncture that was administered to be a reliever of joint pain. These are the same pressure points that are used in acupuncture today. There is, however, some speculation that the markings could have been a representation of a ritual or social status.
Russians found bodies that they believed to be more that 2,400 years old. They had therapeutic dots that lined up all along their spinal column as well as around their right ankle. It is because of tattoos like these that historians have been able to attain important information of the Neolithic ages.
The Symbolic Meaning Of Tattoo Designs
Every tattoo has its own special meaning while others have several meanings that can be a different representation to whoever is wearing it. Below is an overview of popular tattoo designs.
- Tribal Tattoos – These have become one of the most popular tattoo designs for good reason, the meaningful roots run deep. Every tribe of people has their own history and culture that is represented in tribal tattoos.
- Animal Tattoos – Animal tattoo designs are chosen for various reasons, usually being a deep respect for the acknowledged animal. Many animals also have their own symbolic meaning.
- Bird Tattoos – From swallows to owls to crows, in general, bird tattoos are almost always associated with freedom.
- Cross Tattoos – Found in various styles, religious and non-religious, all representing a strong symbolism of something, either spiritual or not. Popular crosses are Latin, Celtic, Iron, Maltese and Gothic.
- Eagle Tattoos – These are extremely popular in the United States with the Bald eagle representing the nation’s bird. It is a symbol of power due to the animal’s predator nature. The eagle tattoo is often depicted in the colors of the flag.
- Face tattoos – Portraits of human faces are often done as a tribute to a deceased loved one or as a fantasy or mythological creature.
- Sun Tattoos – The sun is a deep root in cultures and history of numerous civilizations. The sun has always been a giver of life and represents rejuvenation.
- Flower Tattoos – These types of tattoo designs are most popular with woman and symbolize a natural element or they are commonly used as an accessory design with something else.
- Horoscope Tattoos – Zodiac symbol tattoos are extremely popular and usually suggest a tribal form of art.
- Wolf Tattoo – This hauntingly beautiful animal gives the impression of a primeval savage beast or a leader.
Through time, many people have found themselves forcibly tattooed. During the Holocaust in Nazi concentration camps, a tattoo identification system was used for inmates. Tattoos have often been used by forensic pathologists, helping them to identify mutilated and burned bodies because tattoo pigment lies deep enough in the skin that is often not destroyed.
Spiritual And Decorative Uses
Tattoos serve as a needed rite of passage, symbol of rank and status, spiritual and religious devotion, a decoration for bravery, marks of fertility, punishment, pledges of love, protection, convicts and slaves. The impact and symbol of a tattoo changes with different cultures and locations.
Today, people acquire tattoos for many different personal reasons such as sentimental or memorial, cosmetic, religious, criminal gangs and magical reasons. They have certainly came a long way and will continue to be a personal sign of representation for centuries to come.
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