Body decoration is one of the oldest manifestations of a person’s creative abilities. The history of the origin of the tattoo begins with the Paleolithic era. The tattoo arose during the primitive system. Then, at different periods of the development of civilization, it acted as a mark of distinction and protection from evil spirits. Various images indicated that a person belongs to the circle of favorites. They believed that a tattoo would help save a life and return home from war or distant wanderings. The etymology of the name includes such designations as “tattoo”, “stigma”, “imprint”, “sign”.
When exactly and where the tattoos came from is not known. According to indirect written evidence, such jewelry was used 60 thousand years ago. Actual evidence is the ornaments on the skin of mummies, which are about 6 thousand years old.
Geography of tattoo
The history of the distribution of tattoos in the world has a wide geography: Asia, Europe, North and South America, Australia and Oceania. In each of these places, the origin of the art of drawing on the body occurred autonomously.
It is interesting to note some differences:
On dark skin, drawings were made by scarification – scarification. Using incisions, a relief pattern was created, which was accented with paint applied to wounds.
On white skin depicted ornaments, flowers, signs, tinted with pigments from plants.
The first tattoos in the history of the Indian tribes of Polynesia were made by soot, which was driven under the skin with a special hammer and a sharp stick with shark teeth. The notch technique was also used when soot was rubbed into the wounds. Each tribe had its own drawing style. The main purpose of the drawings was camouflage, distinguishing oneself from strangers, indicating status. Certain designs were made to protect against perfumes. The application was very painful, often leading to death.