American Tattoo History

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The History of American Tattoos Piercing skin repeatedly with a sharp needle dipped in ink sounds like it would deter people from attaining tattoos, but humans have been tolerant of this pain since the beginning of time. In fact, the Egyptians started tattooing around 4000 B.C (Lineberry). To create a tattoo, a needle has to pierce the second layer of skin known as the dermis (Noonan). After that, ink is rubbed into these pinpricks and the design should be covered, otherwise an infection may set in, seeing as the end result is very similar to an open wound (Noonan). This slightly complicated process did not stop our inked ancestors, though. In Cassandra Franklin- Barbajosa’s article, she notes that the earliest tattooed person was found…show more content…
The finders of this man nicknamed him Otzi and his body dated back to the Copper Age. Cuts rubbed with charcoal powder were found on his lower back, knees, ankles, and feet. Scientists used x-ray technology to discover that underneath his primitive tattoos, there was degenerative joint pain. The connection was made that Otzi’s ancestors used tattoos for medicinal use, thinking that the process of receiving a tattoo would relieve the pain. Although that is not what most tattoos are used for today, many people still undergo the process of obtaining one. The history of American tattooing began from ancient religious, criminal, and cosmetic traditions and has transformed into personal belief and self-expression. Tattoos were created for the purpose of religious traditions. Many people of the past had ancient rituals of receiving tattoos for religious reasons. For example, the Prince of Wales had a cross tattooed on his shoulder in the late 1860’s. Similarly, in Cate Lineberry’s report, there was a tribe in Gran…show more content…
Many cultures including Greek, Roman, and Japanese marked their criminals with tattoos to make sure everyone knew what that person had done. Cate Lineberry explains these customs in her article, “Tattoos The Ancient and Mysterious History”. She writes that the Greeks marked spies to show their rank. In the same way, the Japanese marked criminals. The first offense for breaking the law was shown by a line on the forehead; the second was an arch above the line. The final mark was another line connecting the other two. All together, the marks made the Japanese symbol for ‘dog’. The Romans only kept tattoos for the condemned, for anybody else they were banned. Even though it wasn’t permitted, the years spent going to war and seeing tattoos on their enemies influenced Roman warriors. These warriors were impressed by how their opponent’s tattoos were symbols of honor for their people and defined their ferocity while in battle

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