Tattoos Tattoos, Body and Meaning A tattoo is a mark on the body made by inserting indelible ink in the upper layer of epidermis or dermis layer of skin that change the pigment of your skin for decoration and other reasons. Tattoos on human skins are types of decorative body modifications that have been around since the dawn of civilization. Today tattoo finds a significant position among fashionable young teens, adults and people who love to flaunt body art. It is a symbol of personality and the way you carry yourself. They are drawn at varied parts of the body according to individual choice. Tattoo can be drawn on lower back, upper back, shoulder, arms, legs, wrists, ankles, upper stomach and other such areas. Morphology of Tattoo The word tattoo has been derived from the Tahiti word, 'Tatau' and this was first reference made by Joseph Banks the naturalists who was abroad on Cook's ship in the year 1769. He was on the board of the ship 'Endeavour' when he mentioned this term in his journal. He stated, "I shall now mention the way they mark themselves indelibly, each of them is so marked by their humor or disposition". But tattoo art is not that much old. The practice of tattooing has been there for centuries worldwide and the Tribals of different part of the world used to wear them as symbolic significance and beautiful body designs. The use of tattoos varied with cultures and places. For instance the indigenous people of Japan called Ainu used to wear facial tattoos only. Today one can find such facial tattoos worn by Maori of New Zealand, Berbers of Tamazgha, Atayal of Taiwan, Arabic people in East-Turkey as well as other tribal groups of places like Taiwan, Borneo, Africa, Phillipines, South America, Europe, Mesoamerica and others such tribes. In the 18th century the etymology of tattoo was 'tattaow or tattow' derived from the Polynesia word 'tatu'. Later on the English pronunciation has come into existence by the word 'tattoo.' Sailors get the credit of making the term 'tattoo' popular in most European countries they traveled to and also introduced varied forms of designs with significant meanings of each of them. Modern day tattoo lovers refer tattoo as 'tats, ink or pieces' in their terminology of tattoos and those who draw the tattoos are called artists. The mainstream art galleries of the tattoo arts these days are found in the form of work of particular tattoo artists and connoisseurs of tattoos. You can also find tattoo exhibitions being held in major cities across the world where tattoo artists display their unique creations and sold out them to tattoo fans who visit the gallery or exhibition. Practice of Tattoo Art Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice since Neolithic age according to archaeologists who have found evidences from their extracts about the tattoo art. Otzi or the Iceman that dates back to fifth millennium BC was also found in the valley of Alps were found to use tattoos as scientists could excavate nearly 57 carbon tattoos from the sites that consisted of lines and dots on their spine, right ankle and left knee. Even mummies from Egypt too had been found wearing tattoos as 2ndMillennium BC mummy of Amunet discovered had traits of tattoo art on his body. Tattoo art was quite popular among the Pre-Christian European, Germanic, Celtic, and other tribes. They were found heavily tattooed and even Julia Caesar had described about tattoos in Book V of his Gallic Wars. And tattooing in Japan goes back to the Paleolithic age. Thus, the form of tattoo art has been quite prevalent since ages and they were draw in different cultures using wide forms of tattoo techniques like rubbing cuts, rubbing wounds with ashes, hand pricking the skin to insert the dyes. Purposes of Using Tattoos Though there are varied reasons behind the usage of tattoos in ancient culture but the main purpose for using the tattoos were as follows: Decorative and Spiritual Gain: Most tribes wore tattoos as decorative art of body. Humans always had the passion to look different and stylish. And that is not limited only to modern day people. Even the ancient and tribal people used tattoos for decorating themselves. But there were few who used tattoos to signify spiritual gain and religious belief. Because the ancient people worshipped nature and considered every object of nature significant to their existence, they donned the art of tattoos to signify those belief and good signs to their lives. For instance the tattoos of tigers, eagles, and other similar objects were used to signify some sort of spiritual gain. Status and Rank: Tattoos thus were marked used to mark status, tribe, rank and position in the tribe as well. They were also used as symbols of devotion to religion, bravery, marks of fertility, sexual luring, punishment in some cases, pledges of love, protection and others. The symbolism and significance of tattoos thus varied due with different cultures and places. It was also used to signify how people used to feel for others. Cosmetic Enhancement: Present day tattoo art is used for cosmetic, religious and memorial reasons. Many wear them just for fashion without caring much about the significance of the symbols. While others still believe in the traditional belief and bring in luck to one's life. Varied Forms and Designs of Tattoos Modern day tattoos are examples of resurgence of popularity of tattoos in the world and today one can find tattoos in varied forms and designs. Because of modern machines, possible extensions of creativity and demand of people there has been lot of refinement of tattoo art and designs. The quality of ink and markers too has increased significantly. Now they are considered more safe and convenient to people. A wide range of pigments and dyes are used in tattoo art made from compounds like iron oxides of carbon black, acridine, napthol, quinoline, and derivates of other dyes and colors. There is no end to tattoo designs that you can find in world of tattoos. From simple and beautiful flowers to stars, almost everything can be drawn in tattoo art. Animals, flower, inanimate objects, stars and angles find great position in tattoo art and culture. The modern day tattoo artists can draw wide range of patterns, designs and markings of tattoos.