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.

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Where did tattoos originate?
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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.

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Related Questions

  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Q:

    How long do airbrush tattoos last?

    A:

    An airbrush tattoo lasts from three to seven days, depending on the type of ink used, where on the body the tattoo is located and the care it receives. Dusting the tattoo with baby powder can help it last longer.

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  • Q:

    Do tattoos behind the ear hurt?

    A:

    The skin surrounding the ears is especially sensitive, so getting a tattoo on this part of the body can be painful. A tattoo behind the ear can also hurt because there is a minimal amount of fat in this area.

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