An introduction to the history of the art of tattoo

May 08, Maddy rated it did not like it Read this as part of my research for an art history project on Marquesan tattooing. All in all was very one-dimensional and seemed to view the tattoo art without much consideration for the cultural and religious background behind the designs. The section on the Marquesas had great illustrations but the text was almost entirely related to the experiences of Europeans "discovering" the Marquesas and their views on it. The Marquesans are even referred to as "ornately tattooed savages" at one point.

An introduction to the history of the art of tattoo

Tattoo design is becoming an increasingly sophisticated discipline and is now considered by many of its practitioners to be a new branch of fine art. Once banished to the fringes of society, the tattoo artist is now an integral part of contemporary popular culture and their acceptance into the mainstream is beyond doubt.

However, the debate as to whether or not it is correct to consider tattooing as an art form, looks set to rage on for some time. What is beyond dispute is the depth and duration of the history and heritage that make up the lineage of tattooing.

The practice of tattooing is referenced in source materials from ancient Egypt, and as the influence of the Egyptian empire spread throughout Asia and Europe, it manifested itself in Greece, Arabia and Persia before surfacing in China in approximately BC. Dated to approximately BC, the body bore dozens of inked lines, marks and scores etched into areas of skin associated with joints and the spine.

An introduction to the history of the art of tattoo

This suggests that these were intended to serve a medical as opposed to an ornamental function. The history of tribal tattooing Where the Romans used tattoos specifically to identify those considered slaves and criminals, the Polynesians and Ainu people of Northern Japan marked social status in general with tattoos; for example, married women and females of a marriageable age were designated with tattoos.

The Polynesians made visual distinctions between tribes and other communities with tattoos and this developed into the highly distinctive Moko style, which is still used in modern day New Zealand. Intriguingly, The Greeks ranked their spies with tattoos, although given the supposedly clandestine nature of their work, this might have been counter-productive.

Not all tattoos were designed to call attention to themselves and their host. For example, the tribal women from the Republic of Mali in West Africa, who tattoo their gums to show their age and marital status.

Tattoos Through Time

For gang members and those associated with other forms of criminal activity, including incarceration in prison, body art is a very serious form of expression and is indicative of status, allegiance and affiliation. For this sub culture, the tattoo is symbolic, filled with meaning for those who can decipher its coded messages.

Typically these are applied manually with a single needle and therefore their acquisition is both labour intensive and painful. Similarly, in American and Russian prisons, where tattooing is strictly prohibited and equipment is by necessity homemade, tattoos have become a complex means of communicating history, heritage and status through an elaborate system of symbols.

In penal sub cultures, tattoos are inked into the skin using a variety of makeshift implements ranging from pen nibs and paper clips to the sharpened end of a metal guitar string. The process is painful and dangerous and implies that the recipient is capable of enduring the discomfort involved.

Infection is common… Tattoos in the s The s marked a pivotal point in the history of the tattoo. An American artist named Lyle Tuttle did much to highlight the profile and upgrade the social standing of the tattoo by practicing his craft on several celebrities of the time.

The Tattoo History Source Book by Steve Gilbert

When he was asked what made tattooing gain in popularity during his early career, Tuttle replied: That put tattooing back on the map.

For three years, I tattooed almost nothing but women. Most women got tattooed for the entertainment value … The women made tattooing a softer and kinder art form. However, having gained acceptance, the tattoo has lost much of its ability to unsettle.

Where once the viewer reacted to the tattoo with shock, today that reaction is more likely to involve a critical examination and evaluation of the artwork. Having been part of the universal culture for thousands of years, tattooing as an art form is unlikely to die out in the foreseeable future.

The Ancient and Mysterious History

Despite repeatedly falling in and out of mainstream fashion, its enduring popularity seems set to continue as each generation adopts the practice… albeit to a greater or lesser extent. As tastes and techniques change and develop, the tattoo appears to have the ability to adapt to the needs and aspirations of each new wave of youth culture.Tattoo Essay Examples.

1, words. 4 pages. An Introduction to the History of the Art of Tattoo. words. 2 pages. Tattoo as a Modern Way to Express Art. words. 2 pages. Self Expression Through Tattoos. words. 1 page. The Different Uses of Tattoos in the Ancient and Modern World.

words. Tattoos: A Marked History Tattoo Renaissance 18 Tattoos Today Tattoos in the Media 20 its introduction to Western culture, tattoos were reserved to the elite and thought to be symbols of the bearer’s worldliness.

The permanent marks left by the tattoo artists would forever celebrate their endurance and dedication to cultural traditions. The pain was extreme and the risk of death by infection was a great. Unlike most editing & proofreading services, we edit for everything: grammar, spelling, punctuation, idea flow, sentence structure, & more.

Get started now! Tattoo History is intended to provide you with a wide sampling of the rich, diverse history of tattooing and the amazing culture of tattoos around the world. We hope that these tattoo articles and links represent some of the best information available about Tattoo History today.

Tattoo design is becoming an increasingly sophisticated discipline and is now considered by many of its practitioners to be a new branch of fine art. Once banished to the fringes of society, the tattoo artist is now an integral part of contemporary popular culture and their acceptance into the mainstream is beyond doubt.

Skin Stories . History of Tattoo | PBS