Q:

Where did tattoos originate?

A:

Quick Answer

The earliest known tattoos are from 5,000 years ago and were found on the body of the Iceman, from the Italian-Austrian border. His tattoos were located on key acupuncture spots, so it is speculated that the tattoos may have been for pain relief. However there are records of tattoos from civilizations all over the world, so it is likely that many cultures found independent methods of creating tattoos.

Know More
Where did tattoos originate?
Credit: Oktay Ortakcioglu Vetta Getty Images

Full Answer

Other than the Iceman, one of the earliest records of tattoos were found in carvings and on mummies of Egyptian women from 4,000 to 3,500 B.C. Their tattoos were located on the thighs and abdomen, and anthropologists theorize that the tattoos had to do with protection during pregnancy and birth.

There are many other ancient cultures that exhibit evidence of tattoos. The Nubians and Libyans were tribes that lived close to the Egyptians and also showed evidence of tattoos. There is also evidence that the Scythian Pazyryk people of Mongolia also used tattoos, as seen on mummies and in Greek writings. The Romans also have accounts of the ancient Britons as having tattoos. There are also some Pre-Columbian cultures in Peru and Chile that have tattoos that much resemble their art. On the other side of the world, some mummies in China dating back to 1200 B.C. had tattoos, and the Maori are famous for their facial tattoos. Finally there is evidence that North American native groups including the Cree and the Inuit had tattoos.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Where did body art originate?

    A:

    The oldest known tattoo was discovered on the 5,200-year-old body of a man known as the Iceman, found on the Italian-Austrian border in 1991. Based on the locations of the markings, experts theorize that the tattoos on the Iceman were a form of therapy for joint pain.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What year did tattoos start?

    A:

    Tattoos have existed for at least 5,200 years, as shown by the 1991 discovery of a natural mummy named the "Iceman" that bears tattoo patterns. Before the discovery of the Iceman, the earliest evidence for tattoos was around 4,000 years old.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why don't tattoos wear off?

    A:

    Tattoos do not wear off because the tattoo pigment particles are embedded in the dermis, and the body is unequipped to remove particles of a certain size from the area. The body naturally turns over skin, but this process does not affect particles in the dermis.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Do tattoos on feet hurt?

    A:

    Foot tattoos tend to hurt more intensely than tattoos on other locations of the body, because feet have less muscle than the rest of the body, explains Whole Addiction Tattoo. Tattoos hurt more in areas where bones and tendons are near the surface of the skin, such as the foot.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore