MEDICINE Bloodletting Maggots Weird Stuff Trepanning Bee Stings
BEAUTY Foot Binding Neck Stretching Tattooing Corsets Cosmetics Wigs
HOW ABOUT NOW?
|Tattooing is an ancient
art. It has always been done in the same way-pricking holes
through the skin and inserting colored substances and dyes. In
1948, a Russian archeologist opened a Siberian burial chamber from about
500 BC and found the frozen remains of a man and woman. Tattoos
covered the man's arms, legs, and much of his trunk. The pictures
were artistic and complex. Frozen art!
In October of 1991, a 5000 year old frozen body was discovered near Italy. The corpse was very well preserved and had with it clothing, a bow and arrow, a bronze ax, and flint. But what was more amazing was that the body was tattooed with several crosses and straight lines.
Tattooing instruments have been found at archaeological digs in Europe that place the time as early as 10,000 BC. These instruments were disks made of clay with sharp, bone needles placed in holes on the top. Figures were found with designs painted on them to resemble tattoos. Egyptian mummies dating about 1300 BC have been discovered with blue tattoos on the skin.
The North American Indians used thorns to pierce the skin in designs and then rubbed charcoal into the holes, making a permanent tattoo. Not to mention, a painful one! In the 19th century, even the Prince of Wales had a Jerusalem cross tattooed on his arm. Later, both his sons had dragon tattoos applied. The earliest mention in the United States is in the 1800's, when sailors brought back the idea. Many sailors had tattoos of Christ or the cross inked on their backs to discourage the captain giving them back lashes for punishment.
Tawhaiao Potatau Whero, a Maori chief, 19th century.
The Japanese and the Burmese have since done the most elaborate tattooing in the world, sometimes covering their entire bodies with ink. Eventually, tattooing was used as a punishment in Japan and China and became illegal otherwise. It made a comeback, though, in Japan. Today, the art of tattooing is called irezumi and is considered a type of clothing. A full bodysuit takes more than a year to finish and may cost thousands of dollars. But you never have to have it dry cleaned!
Tattooing has been used throughout history to mark criminals and outlaws. Escaped slaves were marked to identify them. Even though it was used in a negative way, it has not died out, but become even more popular in some cultures.
Children in India
Today, in the US, tattooing is becoming more acceptable. But, it is a permanent body change that stays with a person forever. It's not like buying a shirt you decide you don't like! You're stuck with it...or it's stuck on you, rather!