Q:

Where did tattoos come from?

A:

According to the Smithsonian, tattoos have been used by human beings for thousands of years. The earliest-known examples come from Ancient Egyptian mummies that date back to 2000 B.C., but with the discovery of tattoos on the Iceman, it is clear that tattoos were around even before the Egyptians.

The tattoo is a body modification that requires poking bits of ink into the dermis layer of the skin, changing the pigment of the skin. Tattoos existed in cultures in South America around 6000 B.C. Certain tools discovered by archaeologists in Peru may actually be tattoo tools used 60,000 years ago. The Ainu people in Japan, along with some Austro-Asiatic cultures, also used tattoos on their faces and bodies.

The role of tattoos in ancient Egypt is uncertain. However, some archaeologists believe that tattoos represented status or occupation, especially in women. Some women may have received a tattoo because they were of dubious status or had a sexually transmitted disease. Others believe that the tattoos served as a permanent amulet in a time where birth and pregnancy were very difficult. The amulets may have calmed the woman as she believed they would protect her and her baby from disease or death.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Do you need a license to tattoo in the state of North Dakota?

    A:

    According to the North Dakota Department of Health, tattoo and body art facilities must be licensed establishments and have a permit to conduct such activity. Additionally, these establishments are inspected to make sure they meet both sanitation and safety standards before opening to the public.

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  • Q:

    Where can I find angel tattoo designs?

    A:

    Cuded and Tattoo Johnny feature a number of angel tattoo designs. The body art includes angels holding a rosary, donning a halo or folding their hands in prayer.

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  • Q:

    What are some tattoo designs with names?

    A:

    Tattoo designs with names can include roses or brightly colored flowers with a name inked in the center or on the side of the flowers. Other tattoos with names feature a butterfly with a person's name tattooed above the butterfly.

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  • Q:

    How do you transfer tattoo flash?

    A:

    The Creative Paper Co. explains transferring tattoo flash as a simple process of printing the desired design directly onto the grid side of the tattoo paper, cutting the image out close to the edge, carefully peeling away the adhesive side and applying the temporary tattoo directly to the skin before smoothing out any creases. Karen L. Hudson at About also explains how tattoo artists use this process.

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