40 years of faulty wiring

Tit for Tattoo

Ever wondered where tattoos originated? The history is age old and spans across many cultures. Here is an interesting speculation: the first tats probably were created by accident. someone had a small wound, and rubbed it with a hand that was dirty with soot and ashes from the fire. Once the wound had healed, they saw that a mark stayed permanently. Cool. In 1991 the perfectly preserved corpse of a 5,000 year old man was found on a mountain between italy and austria bearing 57 tattoos. Weirdly the places on his body where the tattoos were placed suggested they were used for arthritic disease.  I wonder if he had any luck? Maybe we’ve been overlooking something here.

Tattoos are permanent because they penetrate the upper layer of skin (epidermis) and stain the 2nd layer of skin (dermis). The dermis is responsible for a youthful or an aged look. It’s the culprit that develops wrinkles, brown and white spots, stretch marks, and causes sagging to the epidermis as we age. If tattoo ink couldn’t reach the dermis it wouldn’t be permanent. Read SPFs, Sunburns, Sunlight and Summer. Tattoos are very personal and usually reflect cultural, spiritual or personal beliefs. Thousands of years ago they were used to ward off evil spirits and bring the blessing of gods and good spirits to the wearer.

The first record of Japanese tattooing reveals the Japanese began using tattoos in 279 AD. The Japanese, like many of us today, were into tattoos for their esthetic value and not for supernatural or magical reasons.  Borneo still practices the art of tattooing exactly as it did for thousands of years. Cool. Well if it ain’t broke… Speaking of broke if there is one culture that wins the Most Painful Tattooing Technique Award it goes to Africa. African skin is too dark to tattoo in the traditional manner so Africans use a small knife to make “scarifications.” These involve lifting the skin a little, making a cut and rubbing in special sand to make a raised pattern. They are read rather like braille. I can’t imagine the agony.

Ancient Romans used tattoos to mark criminals and slaves. The words “tax paid” were usually tattooed onto slaves. Imagine being tattooed as a criminal? You were branded for the rest of your life even after you’ve served your time. Sucks. England had a gracious means of using tattoos: they brought Polynesian people home with them after their travels to display their tattoos in lecture halls, demonstrating how primitive natives were compared to the elite Europeans. Nice. Blue bloods.

The ultimate sign of loyalty for a gang member anywhere in the world is a tattoo of the gang’s symbol. Tear drops underneath the eye and spider webs on the elbows indicate the number of gang murder victims.

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June 21, 2011 - Posted by | Pop Culture | , ,

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