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A tattoo is a form of
body modification Body modification (or body alteration) is the deliberate altering of the human anatomy or human physical appearance. In its broadest definition it includes skin tattooing, socially acceptable decoration (''e.g.'', common earring, ear piercing in ...

body modification
made by inserting tattoo ink, dyes, and/or
pigments A pigment is a colored material that is completely or nearly insoluble in water. In contrast, dyes are typically soluble, at least at some stage in their use. Generally dyes are often organic compound In chemistry, organic compounds are gene ...

pigments
, either indelible or temporary, into the
dermis The dermis or corium is a layer of skin between the epidermis (skin), epidermis (with which it makes up the cutis (anatomy), cutis) and subcutaneous tissues, that primarily consists of dense irregular connective tissue and cushions the body from s ...
layer of the
skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue covering the body of a vertebrate animal, with three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. Other cuticle, animal coverings, such as the arthropod exoskeleton, have diffe ...

skin
to form a design.
Tattoo artist A tattoo artist (also tattooer or tattooist) is an individual who applies permanent decorative tattoos, often in an established business called a "tattoo shop", "tattoo studio" or "tattoo parlour". Tattoo artists usually learn their craft via an ...
s create these designs using several tattooing processes and techniques, including hand-tapped traditional tattoos and modern
tattoo machine A tattoo machine is a hand-held device generally used to create a tattoo, a permanent marking of the skin with indelible ink. Modern tattoo machines use electromagnetic coils to move an armature bar up and down. Connected to the armature bar is a ...
s. The
history of tattooing Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times, as evidenced by mummified preserved skin, ancient art and the archaeological record. Both ancient art and archaeological finds of possible tattoo tools suggest tattooin ...
goes back to
Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithic Revolution, a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several pa ...
times, practiced across the globe by many cultures, and the symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures. Tattoos may be decorative (with no specific meaning), symbolic (with a specific meaning to the wearer), or pictorial (a depiction of a specific person or item). Many tattoos serve as
rites of passage A rite of passage is a ceremony or ritual of the passage which occurs when an individual leaves one group to enter another. It involves a significant change of social status, status in society. In cultural anthropology the term is the Anglicisat ...
, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, marks of
fertility Fertility is the capability to produce offspring In biology, offspring are the young creation of living organisms, produced either by a Asexual reproduction, single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two organisms. Collective ...
, pledges of love,
amulet An amulet, also known as a good luck charm or phylactery, is an object believed to confer protection upon its possessor. The word "amulet" comes from the Latin word amuletum, which Pliny's ''Natural History'' describes as "an object that protects ...
s and talismans, protection, and as punishment, like the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. Extensive decorative tattooing has also been part of the work of performance artists such as tattooed ladies. Today, people choose to be tattooed for artistic, cosmetic, sentimental/
memorial A memorial is an object or place which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something, usually an influential, deceased person or a historical, Tragedy (event), tragic event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objec ...
,
religious Religion is usually defined as a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, sacred site, sanctified places, prophecy, prophecie ...
, and spiritual reasons, and family and to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups, including criminal gangs (see
criminal tattoo Criminal tattoos are a type of tattoos associated with Crime, criminals to show gang membership and record the wearer's personal history—such as their skills, specialties, accomplishments, incarceration, world view and/or means of personal exp ...
s) or a particular ethnic group or law-abiding subculture. Tattoos may show how a person feels about a relative (commonly a parent or child) or about an unrelated person. Tattoos can also be used for functional purposes, such as identification,
permanent makeup Permanent makeup is a Beauty, cosmetic technique which employs tattoo, tattoos (permanent pigmentation of the dermis) as a means of producing designs that resemble makeup, such as eye-lining and other permanent enhancing colors to the skin of th ...
, and medical purposes.


Terminology

The word ''tattoo'', or ''tattow'' in the 18th century, is a
loanword A loanword (also loan word or loan-word) is a word at least partly assimilated from one language (the donor language) into another language. This is in contrast to cognates, which are words in two or more languages that are similar because the ...
from the Samoan word ''tatau'', meaning "to strike", from
Proto-Oceanic Proto-Oceanic (abbr. ''POc'') is a proto-language that comparative linguistics, historical linguists since Otto Dempwolff have reconstructed as the hypothetical common ancestor of the Oceanic languages, Oceanic subgroup of the Austronesian langu ...
*''sau''₃ referring to a wingbone from a
flying fox ''Pteropus'' (suborder Yinpterochiroptera) is a genus of megabats which are among the largest bats in the world. They are commonly known as fruit bats or flying foxes, among other colloquial names. They live in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Austra ...
used as an instrument for the tattooing process. The ''
Oxford English Dictionary The ''Oxford English Dictionary'' (''OED'') is the first and foundational historical dictionary of the English language, published by Oxford University Press (OUP). It traces the historical development of the English language, providing a com ...
'' gives the
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history of the Phonological chan ...
of tattoo as "In 18th c. tattaow, tattow. From Polynesian (Samoan, Tahitian, Tongan, etc.) tatau. In Marquesan, tatu." Before the importation of the Polynesian word, the practice of tattooing had been described in the West as painting, scarring, or staining. The etymology of the body modification term is not to be confused with the origins of the word for the military drumbeat or performance — see ''
military tattoo A military tattoo is a performance of music or display of armed forces in general. The term comes from the early 17th-century Dutch phrase ''doe den tap toe'' ("turn off the tap"), a signal sounded by drummers or trumpeters to instruct innkeeper ...
''. In this case, the English word ''tattoo'' is derived from the Dutch word ''taptoe''. Copyrighted tattoo designs that are mass-produced and sent to tattoo artists are known as " flash". Flash sheets are prominently displayed in many tattoo parlors for the purpose of providing both inspiration and ready-made tattoo images to customers. The Japanese word ''
irezumi (also spelled or sometimes ) is the Japanese word for tattoo, and is used in English to refer to a distinctive style of Japanese tattooing, though it is also used as a blanket term to describe a number of tattoo styles originating in Japan, inc ...
'' means "insertion of ink" and can mean tattoos using ''tebori'', the traditional Japanese hand method, a Western-style machine or any method of tattooing using insertion of ink. The most common word used for traditional Japanese tattoo designs is '' horimono''. Japanese may use the word ''tattoo'' to mean non-Japanese styles of tattooing. British anthropologist Ling Roth in 1900 described four methods of skin marking and suggested they be differentiated under the names "tatu", " moko", " cicatrix", and "
keloid Keloid, also known as keloid disorder and keloidal scar, is the formation of a type of scar which, depending on its maturity, is composed mainly of either type III (early) or type I (late) collagen. It is a result of an overgrowth of granulation t ...
". The first is by pricking that leaves the skin smooth as found in places including the Pacific Islands. The second is a tattoo combined with chiseling to leave furrows in the skin as found in places including New Zealand. The third is scarification using a knife or chisel as found in places including West Africa. The fourth and the last is scarification by irritating and re-opening a preexisting wound, and re-scarification to form a raised scar as found in places including Tasmania, Australia, Melanesia, and Central Africa.McDougall, Russell and Davidson, Iain; eds. (2016).
The Roth Family, Anthropology, and Colonial Administration
', p.97. Routledge. .


Types

The
American Academy of Dermatology The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is a non-profit professional organization of dermatologists in the United States and Canada, based in Rosemont, Illinois, near Chicago. It was founded in 1938 and has more than 20,500 members. The Academy ...
distinguishes five types of tattoos: traumatic tattoos that result from injuries, such as asphalt from road injuries or pencil lead; amateur tattoos; professional tattoos, both via traditional methods and modern tattoo machines; cosmetic tattoos, also known as "
permanent makeup Permanent makeup is a Beauty, cosmetic technique which employs tattoo, tattoos (permanent pigmentation of the dermis) as a means of producing designs that resemble makeup, such as eye-lining and other permanent enhancing colors to the skin of th ...
"; and medical tattoos.


Traumatic tattoos

A traumatic tattoo occurs when a substance such as asphalt or gunpowder is rubbed into a
wound A wound is a rapid onset of injury that involves laceration, lacerated or puncture wound, punctured skin (an ''open'' wound), or a bruise, contusion (a ''closed'' wound) from blunt force physical trauma, trauma or compression. In pathology, a '' ...
as the result of some kind of accident or trauma. When this involves
carbon Carbon () is a chemical element with the chemical symbol, symbol C and atomic number 6. It is nonmetallic and tetravalence, tetravalent—its atom making four electrons available to form covalent bond, covalent chemical bonds. It belongs to gro ...
, dermatologists may call the mark a carbon stain instead of a tattoo. Coal miners could develop characteristic marks owing to
coal dust Coal dust is a fine powdered form of which is created by the crushing, grinding, or pulverizing of coal. Because of the brittle nature of coal, coal dust can be created during mining, transportation, or by mechanically handling coal. It is a for ...
getting into wounds. These are particularly difficult to remove as they tend to be spread across several layers of skin, and scarring or permanent discoloration is almost unavoidable depending on the location. An amalgam tattoo is when amalgam particles are implanted in to the soft tissues of the mouth, usually the gums, during dental filling placement or removal. Another example of such accidental tattoos is the result of a deliberate or accidental stabbing with a pencil or pen, leaving graphite or ink beneath the skin.


Identification


Forcible tattooing for identification

A well-known example is the
Nazi Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right politics, far-right Totalitarianism, totalitarian political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hit ...
practice of forcibly tattooing
concentration camp Internment is the imprisonment of people, commonly in large groups, without Criminal charge, charges or Indictment, intent to file charges. The term is especially used for the confinement "of enemy citizens in wartime or of terrorism suspects ...
inmates with identification numbers during
the Holocaust The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was the genocide of History of the Jews in Europe, European Jews during World War II. Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and #Collaboration, its collaborators systematically murdered some Holoc ...
as part of the Nazis' identification system, beginning in fall 1941. The SS introduced the practice at
Auschwitz concentration camp Auschwitz concentration camp ( (); also or ) was a complex of over 40 Nazi concentration camps, concentration and extermination camps operated by Nazi Germany in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany, occupied Poland (in a portion annexed int ...
in order to identify the bodies of registered prisoners in the concentration camps. During registration, guards would pierce the outlines of the serial-number digits onto the prisoners' arms. Of the Nazi concentration camps, only Auschwitz put tattoos on inmates. The tattoo was the prisoner's camp number, sometimes with a special symbol added: some Jews had a triangle, and Romani had the letter "Z" (from German ''Zigeuner'' for "Gypsy"). In May 1944, Jewish men received the letters "A" or "B" to indicate a particular series of numbers. As early as the Zhou, Chinese authorities would employ facial tattoos as a punishment for certain crimes or to mark prisoners or slaves. During the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
, gladiators and slaves were tattooed: exported slaves were tattooed with the words "tax paid", and it was a common practice to tattoo "fugitive" (denoted by the letters "FUG") on the foreheads of runaway slaves. Owing to the
Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek , , 'the books') is a collection of religious texts or scriptures that are held to be sacredness, sacred in Christianity, Judaism, Samaritanism, and many other religions. The Bible is an anthologya compilation of ...
strictures against the practice, Emperor
Constantine I Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor from AD 306 to 337, and the first of which to Constantine the Great and Christianity, convert to Christiani ...
banned tattooing the face around AD 330, and the
Second Council of Nicaea The Second Council of Nicaea is recognized as the last of the first seven ecumenical councils by the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the List of Christian denominations by num ...
banned all body markings as a
pagan Paganism (from classical Latin ''pāgānus'' "rural", "rustic", later "civilian") is a term first used in the fourth century by early Christianity, early Christians for people in the Roman Empire who practiced polytheism, or ethnic religions ot ...
practice in AD 787.


Cultural identification

In the period of early contact between the Māori and Europeans, the Māori people hunted and decapitated each other for their moko tattoos, which they traded for European items including axes and firearms. Moko tattoos were facial designs worn to indicate lineage, social position, and status within the tribe. The tattoo art was a sacred marker of identity among the Māori and also referred to as a vehicle for storing one's tapu, or spiritual being, in the afterlife.


Postmortem identification

Tattoos are sometimes used by
forensic pathologist Forensic pathology is pathology Pathology is the study of the causal, causes and effects of disease or injury. The word ''pathology'' also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of biology research fields and ...
s to help them identify burned, putrefied, or mutilated bodies. As tattoo pigment lies encapsulated deep in the skin, tattoos are not easily destroyed even when the skin is burned.


Identification of animals

Pets, show animals,
thoroughbred The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing Horse racing is an equestrianism, equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) ov ...
horses, and
livestock Livestock are the domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to provide labor and produce diversified products for consumption such as meat, eggs, milk, fur, leather, and wool Wool is the textile fibre obtained from sheep an ...
are sometimes tattooed with
animal identification Animal identification using a means of marking is a process done to identify and track specific animals. It is done for a variety of reasons including verification of ownership, biosecurity control, and tracking for research or agricultural purpose ...
marks. Ear tattoos are a method of identification for
beef cattle Beef cattle are cattle raised for meat production (as distinguished from dairy cattle, used for milk production). The meat of mature or almost mature cattle is mostly known as beef. In beef production there are three main stages: cow-calf operati ...
. Tattooing with a 'slap mark' on the shoulder or on the ear is the standard identification method in commercial pig farming. Branding is used for similar reasons and is often performed without anesthesia, but is different from tattooing as no ink or dye is inserted during the process, the mark instead being caused by permanent scarring of the skin. Pet dogs and cats are sometimes tattooed with a serial number (usually in the ear, or on the inner thigh) via which their owners can be identified. However, the use of a microchip has become an increasingly popular choice and since 2016 is a legal requirement for all 8.5 million pet dogs in the UK.


Cosmetic

Permanent makeup is the use of tattoos to enhance eyebrows, lips (liner and/or lipstick), eyes (liner), and even moles, usually with natural colors, as the designs are intended to resemble makeup. A growing trend in the US and UK is to place artistic
tattoos A tattoo is a form of body modification made by inserting tattoo ink, dyes, and/or pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to form a design. Tattoo artists create these designs using several Process of tatt ...
over the surgical scars of a
mastectomy Mastectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely. A mastectomy is usually carried out to treat breast cancer. In some cases, women believed to be at high risk of breast cancer have the operat ...
. "More women are choosing not to reconstruct after a mastectomy and tattoo over the scar tissue instead... The mastectomy tattoo will become just another option for post cancer patients and a truly personal way of regaining control over post cancer bodies..." However, the tattooing of nipples on reconstructed breasts remains in high demand.


Medical

Medical tattoos are used to ensure instruments are properly located for repeated application of radiotherapy and for the areola in some forms of breast reconstruction. Tattooing has also been used to convey medical information about the wearer (e.g., blood group, medical condition, etc.).
Alzheimer Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegeneration, neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and progressively worsens. It is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in short-term me ...
patients may be tattooed with their names, so they may be easily identified if they go missing. Additionally, tattoos are used in skin tones to cover
vitiligo Vitiligo is a disorder that causes the skin to lose its color. Specific causes are unknown but studies suggest a link to immune system changes. Signs and symptoms The only sign of vitiligo is the presence of pale patchy areas of depigmen ...
, a skin pigmentation disorder.
SS blood group tattoo SS blood group tattoos (german: Blutgruppentätowierung) were worn by members of the ''Waffen-SS'' in Nazi Germany during World War II to identify the individual's blood type. After the war, the tattoo was taken to be ''prima facie'' evidence of ...
s (german: Blutgruppentätowierung) were worn by members of the
Waffen-SS The (, "Armed SS") was the combat branch of the Nazi Party's ''Schutzstaffel'' (SS) organisation. Its formations included men from Nazi Germany, along with Waffen-SS foreign volunteers and conscripts, volunteers and conscripts from both occup ...
in Nazi Germany during World War II to identify the individual's
blood type A blood type (also known as a blood group) is a classification of blood, based on the presence and absence of antibody, antibodies and Heredity, inherited antigenic substances on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). These antigens may be prot ...
. After the war, the tattoo was taken to be
prima facie ''Prima facie'' (; ) is a List of Latin phrases, Latin expression meaning ''at first sight'' or ''based on first impression''. The literal translation would be 'at first face' or 'at first appearance', from the feminine forms of ''primus'' ('fir ...
, if not perfect, evidence of being part of the Waffen-SS, leading to potential arrest and prosecution. This led a number of ex-Waffen-SS to shoot themselves through the arm with a gun, removing the tattoo and leaving scars like the ones resulting from pox inoculation, making the removal less obvious. Tattoos were probably also used in ancient medicine as part of the treatment of the patient. In 1898, Daniel Fouquet, a medical doctor, wrote an article on "medical tattooing" practices in
Ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization in Northeast Africa situated in the Nile Valley. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100Anno Domini, BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the ...
, in which he describes the tattooed markings on the female mummies found at the
Deir el-Bahari Deir el-Bahari or Dayr al-Bahri ( ar, الدير البحري, al-Dayr al-Baḥrī, the Monastery of the North) is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt. This is a part of ...
site. He speculated that the tattoos and other
scarification Scarification involves scratching, etching, burning/Human branding, branding, or superficially cutting designs, pictures, or words into the skin as a permanent body modification or body art. The body modification can take roughly 6–12 months t ...
s observed on the bodies may have served a medicinal or therapeutic purpose: "The examination of these scars, some white, others blue, leaves in no doubt that they are not, in essence, ornament, but an established treatment for a condition of the pelvis, very probably chronic pelvic peritonitis." Ötzi the iceman had a total of 61 tattoos, which may have been a form of
acupuncture Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine and a component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in which thin needles are inserted into the body. Acupuncture is a pseudoscience; the theories and practices of TCM are not based on Science, ...
used to relieve pain.
Radiological In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical s ...
examination of Ötzi's bones showed "age-conditioned or strain-induced degeneration" corresponding to many tattooed areas, including
osteochondrosis Osteochondrosis is a family of orthopedic Orthopedic surgery or orthopedics (American and British English spelling differences, alternatively spelt orthopaedics), is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal ...
and slight
spondylosis Spondylosis is the degeneration of the vertebral column from any cause. In the more narrow sense it refers to spinal osteoarthritis, the age-related wear and tear of the spinal column, which is the most common cause of spondylosis. The degenera ...
in the lumbar spine and wear-and-tear degeneration in the knee and especially in the ankle joints. If so, this is at least 2,000 years before acupuncture's previously known earliest use in
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
(c. 100 BCE).


History

Preserved tattoos on ancient
mummified A mummy is a dead human or an animal whose soft tissues and Organ (anatomy), organs have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to Chemical substance, chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or lack of air, so that th ...
human remains reveal that tattooing has been practiced throughout the world for thousands of years. In 2015, scientific re-assessment of the age of the two oldest known tattooed mummies identified
Ötzi Ötzi, also called the Iceman, is the natural mummy of a man who lived some time between 3350 and 3105 BC, discovered in September 1991 in the Ötztal Alps (hence the nickname "Ötzi") on the border between Austria and Italy. Ötzi is believed to ...
as the oldest example then known. This body, with 61 tattoos, was found embedded in glacial ice in the
Alps The Alps () ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps ; sl, Alpe . are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across seven Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Swi ...
, and was dated to 3250 BCE. In 2018, the oldest figurative tattoos in the world were discovered on two mummies from Egypt which are dated between 3351 and 3017 BCE. Ancient tattooing was most widely practiced among the
Austronesian people The Austronesian peoples, sometimes referred to as Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East Ch ...
. It was one of the early technologies developed by the Proto-Austronesians in
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China Sea, East and South China Seas in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, with the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the n ...
and coastal
South China South China () is a geographical and cultural region that covers the southernmost part of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by ...
prior to at least 1500 BCE, before the Austronesian expansion into the islands of the
Indo-Pacific The Indo-Pacific is a vast biogeography, biogeographic region of Earth. In a narrow sense, sometimes known as the Indo-West Pacific or Indo-Pacific Asia, it comprises the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific O ...
. It may have originally been associated with
headhunting Headhunting is the practice of human hunting, hunting a human and human trophy collecting, collecting the decapitation, severed human head, head after killing the victim, although sometimes more portable body parts (such as ear, rhinotomy, nose ...
. Tattooing traditions, including facial tattooing, can be found among all Austronesian subgroups, including
Taiwanese Aborigines Taiwanese may refer to: * Taiwanese language, another name for Taiwanese Hokkien * Something from or related to Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a Country, country in East Asia, at the junction of the East China S ...
,
Islander Southeast Asians The Austronesian peoples, sometimes referred to as Austronesian-speaking peoples, are a large group of peoples in Taiwan, Maritime Southeast Asia, Micronesia, coastal New Guinea, Island Melanesia, Polynesia, and Madagascar that speak Austrones ...
,
Micronesians The Micronesians or Micronesian peoples are various closely related ethnic groups Indigenous peoples of Oceania, native to Micronesia, a region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They are a part of the Austronesian peoples, Austronesian ethnolinguis ...
,
Polynesians Polynesians form an ethnolinguistic group of closely related people who are Indigenous peoples of Oceania , native to Polynesia (islands in the Polynesian Triangle), an expansive region of Oceania in the Pacific Ocean. They trace their early pre ...
, and the
Malagasy people The Malagasy (french: Malgache) are an Austronesian peoples, Austronesian-speaking African ethnic group native to the island country of Madagascar. Traditionally, the population have been divided by subgroups (tribes or ethnicities). Examples ...
. Austronesians used the characteristic hafted skin-puncturing technique, using a small mallet and a piercing implement made from ''
Citrus ''Citrus'' is a genus of flowering plant, flowering trees and shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Plants in the genus produce citrus fruits, including important crops such as Orange (fruit), oranges, Lemon, lemons, grapefruits, pomelos, and lim ...
'' thorns, fish bone, bone, and oyster shells. Ancient tattooing traditions have also been documented among
Papuans The Indigenous peoples of Oceania, indigenous peoples of Western New Guinea, West Papua in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, commonly called Papuans, are Melanesians. There is genetic evidence for two major historical lineages in New Guinea and nei ...
and
Melanesians Melanesians are the predominant and indigenous inhabitants of Melanesia, in a wide area from Indonesia Indonesia, officially the Republic of Indonesia, is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pac ...
, with their use of distinctive
obsidian Obsidian () is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed when lava extrusive rock, extruded from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth. It is an igneous rock. Obsidian is produced from felsic lava, rich in the lighter elements s ...
skin piercers. Some archeological sites with these implements are associated with the Austronesian migration into
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (abbreviated PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country i ...
and
Melanesia Melanesia (, ) is a subregion of Oceania in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It extends from Indonesia's Western New Guinea, New Guinea in the west to Fiji in the east, and includes the Arafura Sea. The region includes the four independent cou ...
. But other sites are older than the Austronesian expansion, being dated to around 1650 to 2000 BCE, suggesting that there was a preexisting tattooing tradition in the region. Among other ethnolinguistic groups, tattooing was also practiced among the
Ainu people The Ainu are the indigenous people of the lands surrounding the Sea of Okhotsk, including Hokkaido Island, Tōhoku region, Northeast Honshu Island, Sakhalin Island, the Kuril Islands, the Kamchatka Peninsula and Khabarovsk Krai, before the arri ...
of Japan; some Austroasians of
Indochina Mainland Southeast Asia, also known as the Indochinese Peninsula or Indochina, is the continental portion of Southeast Asia. It lies east of the Indian subcontinent and south of Mainland China and is bordered by the Indian Ocean to the west an ...
; Berber women of Tamazgha (North Africa); the Yoruba,
Fulani The Fula, Fulani, or Fulɓe people ( ff, Fulɓe, ; french: Peul, links=no; ha, Fulani or Hilani; pt, Fula, links=no; wo, Pël; bm, Fulaw) are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, widely dispersed across the region. ...
and
Hausa Hausa may refer to: * Hausa people, an ethnic group of West Africa * Hausa language, spoken in West Africa * Hausa Kingdoms, a historical collection of Hausa city-states * Hausa (horse) or Dongola horse, an African breed of riding horse See also
people of
Nigeria Nigeria ( ), , ig, Naìjíríyà, yo, Nàìjíríà, pcm, Naijá , ff, Naajeeriya, kcg, Naijeriya officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of G ...
; Native Americans of the
Pre-Columbian Americas In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the Migration to the New World, original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic period through European colonization of the Americas, European colonization, w ...
;Evans, Susan, Toby. 2013. Ancient Mexico and Central America: Archaeology and Culture History. 3rd Edition. and
Picts The Picts were a group of peoples who lived in what is now northern and eastern Scotland (north of the Firth of Forth) during Sub-Roman Britain, Late Antiquity and the Scotland in the Early Middle Ages, Early Middle Ages. Where they lived an ...
of
Iron Age Britain The British Iron Age is a conventional name used in the archaeology of Great Britain, referring to the prehistoric and protohistoric phases of the Iron Age culture of the main island and the smaller islands, typically excluding prehistoric Ire ...
.


Europe

In 1566, French sailors abducted an Inuit woman and her child in modern-day
Labrador , nickname = "The Big Land" , etymology = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Canada , subdivision_type1 = Provinces and territories of C ...
and brought her to the city of
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ; es, Amberes) is the largest city in Belgium by area at and the capital of Antwerp Province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 530,504,
in the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, also known as the (Seven) United Provinces, officially as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (Dutch language, Dutch: ''Republiek der Zeven Verenigde Nederlanden''), and commonly referred to in ...
. The mother was tattooed while the child was unmarked. In Antwerp, the two were put on display at a local tavern at least until 1567, with handbills promoting the event being distributed in the city. In 1577, English
privateer A privateer is a private person or ship that engages in maritime warfare under a commission of war. Since robbery under arms was a common aspect of seaborne trade, until the early 19th century all merchant ships carried arms. A sovereign or deleg ...
Martin Frobisher Sir Martin Frobisher (; c. 1535 – 22 November 1594) was an England, English sailor, seaman and privateer who made three voyages to the New World looking for the North-west Passage. He probably sighted Resolution Island (Nunavut), Resolution ...
captured two Inuit and brought them back to England for display. One of the Inuit was a tattooed woman from
Baffin Island Baffin Island (formerly Baffin Land), in the Provinces and territories of Canada, Canadian territory of Nunavut, is the list of Canadian islands by area, largest island in Canada and the list of islands by area, fifth-largest island in the worl ...
, who was illustrated by the English cartographer John White. In 1691,
William Dampier William Dampier (baptised 5 September 1651; died March 1715) was an English explorer, pirate, privateer, navigator, and naturalist who became the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circu ...
brought to London a Filipino man named Jeoly or Giolo from the island of
Mindanao Mindanao ( ) (Jawi Alphabet, Jawi: مينداناو) is the List of islands of the Philippines, second-largest island in the Philippines, after Luzon, and List of islands by population, seventh-most populous island in the world. Located in the ...
(Philippines) who had a tattooed body. Dampier exhibited Jeoly in a
human zoo Human zoos, also known as ethnological expositions, were public displays of people, usually in a so-called "natural" or "primitive" state. They were most prominent during the 19th and 20th centuries. These displays sometimes emphasized the sup ...
to make a fortune and falsely branded him as a "prince" to draw large crowds. At the time of exhibition, Jeoly was still grieving his mother, who Dampier also enslaved and had died at sea during their exploitation to Europe. Dampier claimed that he became friends with Jeoly, but with the intention to make money, he continued to exploit his "friend" by exhibiting him in a human zoo, where Jeoly died three months later. Jeoly's dead body was afterwards skinned, and his skinless body was disposed, while the tattooed skin was sold and displayed at Oxford. It is commonly held that the modern popularity of tattooing stems from Captain
James Cook James Cook (7 November 1728Old Style and New Style dates, Old Style date: 27 October – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartography, cartographer, and captain (Royal Navy), captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for ...
's three voyages to the South Pacific in the late 18th century. Certainly, Cook's voyages and the dissemination of the texts and images from them brought more awareness about tattooing (and, as noted above, imported the word "tattow" into Western languages). On Cook's first voyage in 1768, his science officer and expedition botanist,
Sir Joseph Banks Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, (19 June 1820) was an English Natural history, naturalist, botanist, and patron of the natural sciences. Banks made his name on the European and American voyages of scientific exploration, 1766 natural-history ...
, as well as artist Sydney Parkinson and many others of the crew, returned to England with a keen interest in tattoos with Banks writing about them extensively and Parkinson is believed to have gotten a tattoo himself in
Tahiti Tahiti (; Tahitian language, Tahitian ; ; previously also known as Otaheite) is the largest island of the Windward Islands (Society Islands), Windward group of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. It is located in the central part of the P ...
. Banks was a highly regarded member of the English aristocracy who had acquired his position with Cook by co-financing the expedition with ten thousand pounds, a very large sum at the time. In turn, Cook brought back with him a tattooed
Raiatea Raiatea or Ra'iatea (Tahitian language, Tahitian: ''Ra‘iātea'') is the second largest of the Society Islands, after Tahiti, in French Polynesia. The island is widely regarded as the "centre" of the eastern islands in ancient Polynesia and it i ...
n man, Omai, whom he presented to King George and the English Court. On subsequent voyages other crew members, from officers, such as American John Ledyard, to ordinary seamen, were tattooed. The first documented professional tattooist in Britain was
Sutherland Macdonald Sutherland Macdonald was a prominent England, English tattoo artist in the late 19th century and early 20th century, and the first tattooist in Britain with an identifiable premises open to the public. Operating in a salon in London's Jermyn Stre ...
, who operated out of a salon in London beginning in 1894. In Britain, tattooing was still largely associated with sailors and the lower or even criminal class, but by the 1870s had become fashionable among some members of the upper classes, including royalty, and in its upmarket form it could be an expensive and sometimes painful process. A marked
class division Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (knowledge representation), a collection of individuals or objects * Class (philosophy), an analytical concept used differently ...
on the acceptability of the practice continued for some time in Britain. Tattooing of Catholic women in Bosnia and Herzegovina became widespread during the
Ottoman rule Ottoman is the Turkish spelling of the Arabic masculine given name Uthman Uthman ibn Affan ( ar, عثمان بن عفان, ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān; – 17 June 656), also spelled by Colloquial Arabic, Turkish language, Turkish and Persian ...
and continued to the mid 20th century. Among the Catholic population, there was a widespread tradition of tattooing crosses on the hands, arms, chest, and forehead of girls between the ages of 6 to 16. This was done in order to prevent kidnapping by the Ottoman Turks and conversion to Islam. Ethnographers believe that its origins predate both the Slavic migration to the Balkans and spread of
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's ...
, with evidence pointing far back to the prehistoric
Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria (; grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of people collectively known as the Illyr ...
n tribes.


North America

Many
Indigenous peoples of North America The Indigenous peoples of the Americas are the inhabitants of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonization of the Americas, European settlers in the 15th century, and the ethnic groups who now identify themselves with those peopl ...
practice tattooing. European explorers and traders who met Native Americans noticed these tattoos and wrote about them, and a few Europeans chose to be tattooed by Native Americans. See history of tattooing in North America. By the time of the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution that occurred in British America between 1765 and 1791. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies formed independent states that defeated the British in the American Revolut ...
, tattoos were already common among American sailors (see
sailor tattoos Sailor tattoos are traditions of tattoo, tattooing among Sailor, sailors, including images with symbolic meanings. These practices date back to at least the 16th century among European sailors, and since Colonial history of the United States, col ...
). Tattoos were listed in
protection papers Protection papers, also known as "Seamen Protection Papers", "Seamen Protection Certificates", or "Sailor's Protection Papers", were issued to American seamen during the last part of the 18th century through the first half of the 20th century. Thes ...
, an identity certificate issued to prevent
impressment Impressment, colloquially "the press" or the "press gang", is the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice. European navies of several nations used forced recruitment by various means. The large size of ...
into the British
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
. Because protection papers were proof of American citizenship, Black sailors used them to show that they were freemen. The first recorded professional tattoo shop in the US was established in the early 1870s by a German immigrant, Martin Hildebrandt. He had served as a Union soldier in the Civil War and tattooed many other soldiers. Soon after the Civil War, tattoos became fashionable among upper-class young adults. This trend lasted until the beginning of World War I. The invention of the electric tattoo machine caused popularity of tattoos among the wealthy to drop off. The machine made the tattooing procedure both much easier and cheaper, thus, eliminating the status symbol tattoos previously held, as they were now affordable for all socioeconomic classes. The status symbol of a tattoo shifted from a representation of wealth to a mark typically seen on rebels and criminals. Despite this change, tattoos remained popular among military servicemen, a tradition that continues today. In 1975, there were only 40 tattoo artists in the country; in 1980, there were more than 5,000 self-proclaimed tattoo artists, appearing in response to sudden demand. Many studies have been done of the tattooed population and society's view of tattoos. In June 2006, the '' Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology'' published the results of a telephone survey of 2004: it found that 36% of Americans ages 18–29, 24% of those 30–40, and 15% of those 41–51 had a tattoo. In September 2006, the
Pew Research Center The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisanism in the United States, nonpartisan American think tank (referring to itself as a "fact tank") based in Washington, D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends ...
conducted a telephone survey that found that 36% of Americans ages 18–25, 40% of those 26–40 and 10% of those 41–64 had a tattoo. They concluded that
Generation X Generation X (or Gen X for short) is the Western world, Western demographic Cohort (statistics), cohort following the baby boomers and preceding the millennials. Researchers and popular media use the mid-to-late 1960s as starting birth years a ...
and
Millennials Millennials, also known as Generation Y or Gen Y, are the Western world, Western demography, demographic Cohort (statistics), cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z. Researchers and popular media use the early 1980s as start ...
express themselves through their appearance, and tattoos are a popular form of self-expression. In January 2008, a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive estimated that 14% of all adults in the United States have a tattoo, slightly down from 2003, when 16% had a tattoo. Among age groups, 9% of those ages 18–24, 32% of those 25–29, 25% of those 30–39 and 12% of those 40–49 have tattoos, as do 8% of those 50–64. Men are slightly more likely to have a tattoo than women. Since the 1970s, tattoos have become a mainstream part of Western fashion, common both for men and women, and among all economic classes and to age groups from the later teen years to middle age. For many young Americans, the tattoo has taken on a decidedly different meaning than for previous generations. The tattoo has undergone "dramatic redefinition" and has shifted from a form of deviance to an acceptable form of expression. As of 1 November 2006,
Oklahoma Oklahoma (; Choctaw language, Choctaw: ; chr, ᎣᎧᎳᎰᎹ, ''Okalahoma'' ) is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, bordered by Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the nor ...
became the last state to legalize tattooing, having banned it since 1963.


Australia

Branding was used by European authorities for marking criminals throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The practice was also used by British authorities to mark army deserters and military personnel court-martialed in Australia. In nineteenth century Australia tattoos were generally the result of personal rather than official decisions but British authorities started to record tattoos along with scars and other bodily markings to describe and manage convicts assigned for transportation.Maxwell-Stewart, Hamish, in Caplan, J. (2000). Written on the body: The tattoo in European and American history / edited by Jane Caplan. London: Reaktion. The practice of tattooing appears to have been a largely non-commercial enterprise during the convict period in Australia. For example, James Ross in the Hobart Almanac of 1833 describes how the convicts on board ship commonly spent time tattooing themselves with gunpowder. Out of a study of 10,180 convict records that were transported to then Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) between 1823 and 1853 about 37% of all men and about 15% of all women arrived with tattoos, making Australia at the time the most heavily tattooed English-speaking country. By the beginning of the twentieth century, there were tattoo studios in Australia but they do not appear to have been numerous. For example, the Sydney tattoo studio of Fred Harris was touted as being the only tattoo studio in Sydney between 1916 and 1943. Tattoo designs often reflected the culture of the day and in 1923 Harris's small parlour experienced an increase in the number of women getting tattoos. Another popular trend was for women to have their legs tattooed so the designs could be seen through their stockings. By 1937 Harris was one of Sydney's best-known tattoo artists and was inking around 2000 tattoos a year in his shop. Sailors provided most of the canvases for his work but among the more popular tattoos in 1938 were Australian flags and kangaroos for sailors of the visiting American Fleet. In modern day Australia a popular tattoo design is the Southern Cross motif, or variations of it. There are currently over 2000 official tattoo practitioners in Australia and over 100 registered parlours and clinics, with the number of unregistered parlours and clinics are estimated to be double that amount. The demand over the last decade for tattoos in Australia has risen over 440%, making it an in demand profession in the country. There are several large
tattoo convention A tattoo convention is a meeting and exhibition for tattoo artist, tattoo practitioners and enthusiasts from different shops & areas, as well as anyone who wishes to see the world of tattooing up close. History The first world tattoo convention w ...
s held in Australia, some of which are considered the biggest in the southern hemisphere, with the best artists from around Oceana attending.


Process

Tattooing involves the placement of pigment into the skin's dermis, the layer of dermal tissue underlying the
epidermis The epidermis is the outermost of the three layers that comprise the skin, the inner layers being the dermis and Subcutaneous tissue, hypodermis. The epidermis layer provides a barrier to infection from environmental pathogens and regulates the ...
. After initial injection, pigment is dispersed throughout a homogenized damaged layer down through the epidermis and upper dermis, in both of which the presence of foreign material activates the
immune system The immune system is a network of biological processes that protects an organism from diseases. It detects and responds to a wide variety of pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, as well as Tumor immunology, cancer cells and objects such ...
's
phagocyte Phagocytes are cell (biology), cells that protect the body by ingesting harmful foreign particles, bacteria, and dead or Apoptosis, dying cells. Their name comes from the Greek language, Greek ', "to eat" or "devour", and "-cyte", the suffix in ...
s to engulf the pigment particles. As healing proceeds, the damaged epidermis flakes away (eliminating surface pigment) while deeper in the skin
granulation tissue Granulation tissue is new connective tissue and microscopic blood vessels that form on the surfaces of a wound during the healing process. Granulation tissue typically grows from the base of a wound and is able to fill wounds of almost any size ...
forms, which is later converted to connective tissue by
collagen Collagen () is the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix found in the body's various connective tissues. As the main component of connective tissue, it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole ...
growth. This mends the upper dermis, where pigment remains trapped within successive generations of
macrophage Macrophages (abbreviated as MPhi, φ, MΦ or MP) ( el, large eaters, from Greek ''μακρός'' (') = large, ''φαγεῖν'' (') = to eat) are a type of white blood cell of the immune system that engulfs and digests pathogens, such as cancer ...
s, ultimately concentrating in a layer just below the dermis/epidermis boundary. Its presence there is stable, but in the long term (decades) the pigment tends to migrate deeper into the dermis, accounting for the degraded detail of old tattoos.


Equipment

Some tribal cultures traditionally created tattoos by cutting designs into the skin and rubbing the resulting wound with ink, ashes or other agents; some cultures continue this practice, which may be an adjunct to
scarification Scarification involves scratching, etching, burning/Human branding, branding, or superficially cutting designs, pictures, or words into the skin as a permanent body modification or body art. The body modification can take roughly 6–12 months t ...
. Some cultures create tattooed marks by hand-tapping the ink into the skin using sharpened sticks or animal bones (made into needles) with clay formed disks or, in modern times, actual needles. The most common method of tattooing in modern times is the electric
tattoo machine A tattoo machine is a hand-held device generally used to create a tattoo, a permanent marking of the skin with indelible ink. Modern tattoo machines use electromagnetic coils to move an armature bar up and down. Connected to the armature bar is a ...
, which inserts ink into the skin via a single needle or a group of needles that are
solder Solder (; North American English, NA: ) is a fusible alloy, fusible metal alloy used to create a permanent bond between metal workpieces. Solder is melted in order to wet the parts of the joint, where it adheres to and connects the pieces afte ...
ed onto a bar, which is attached to an oscillating unit. The unit rapidly and repeatedly drives the needles in and out of the skin, usually 80 to 150 times a second. The needles are single-use needles that come packaged individually, or manufactured by artists, on-demand, as groupings dictate on a per-piece basis. In modern tattooing, an artist may use thermal stencil paper or hectograph ink/stencil paper to first place a printed design on the skin before applying a tattoo design.


Practice regulation and health risk certification

Tattooing is regulated in many countries because of the associated health risks to client and practitioner, specifically local infections and virus transmission. Disposable plastic aprons and eye protection can be worn depending on the risk of blood or other secretions splashing into the eyes or clothing of the tattooist. Hand hygiene, assessment of risks and appropriate disposal of all sharp objects and materials contaminated with blood are crucial areas. The tattoo artist must wash his or her hands and must also wash the area that will be tattooed. Gloves must be worn at all times and the wound must be wiped frequently with a wet disposable towel of some kind. All equipment must be sterilized in a certified
autoclave An autoclave is a machine used to carry out industrial and scientific processes requiring elevated temperature and pressure in relation to ambient pressure and/or Room temperature, temperature. Autoclaves are used before surgical procedures to p ...
before and after every use. It is good practice to provide clients with a printed consent form that outlines risks and complications as well as instructions for after care.


Associations


Historical associations

Among Austronesian societies, tattoos had various functions. Among men, they were strongly linked to the widespread practice of
head-hunting Headhunting is the practice of human hunting, hunting a human and human trophy collecting, collecting the decapitation, severed human head, head after killing the victim, although sometimes more portable body parts (such as ear, rhinotomy, nose ...
raids. In head-hunting societies, like the
Ifugao Ifugao, officially the Province of Ifugao ( ilo, Probinsia ti Ifugao; tl, Lalawigan ng Ifugao), is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or sovereign state, state. The term derives from ...
and
Dayak people The Dayak (; Van Ophuijsen Spelling System, older spelling: Dajak) or Dyak or Dayuh are one of the Indigenous groups, native groups of Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic groups, located principally in the ...
, tattoos were records of how many heads the warriors had taken in battle, and were part of the
initiation rite Initiation is a rite of passage marking entrance or acceptance into a group or society. It could also be a formal admission to adulthood in a community or one of its formal components. In an extended sense, it can also signify a transformation ...
s into adulthood. The number, design, and location of tattoos, therefore, were indicative of a warrior's status and prowess. They were also regarded as magical wards against various dangers like evil spirits and illnesses. Among the
Visayans Visayans (Bisayan languages, Visayan: ''mga Bisaya''; ) or Visayan people are a Ethnic groups in the Philippines, Philippine ethnolinguistic group or metaethnicity native to the Visayas, the southernmost islands of Luzon and a significant portio ...
of the
pre-colonial Philippines Colonialism is a practice or policy of control by one people or power over other people or areas, often by establishing colony, colonies and generally with the aim of economic dominance. In the process of colonisation, colonisers may impose the ...
, tattoos were worn by the '' tumao'' nobility and the '' timawa'' warrior class as permanent records of their participation and conduct in maritime raids known as ''
mangayaw The ''Timawa'' were the feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, cultural and political customs that flourished in Middle Ages, medieval Europe between the 9th and 15th cen ...
''. In Austronesian women, like the facial tattoos among the women of the Tayal and
Māori people The Māori (, ) are the Indigenous peoples of Oceania, indigenous Polynesians, Polynesian people of mainland New Zealand (). Māori originated with settlers from East Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of Māori migration ...
, they were indicators of status, skill, and beauty. The
Government of Meiji Japan The was the government that was formed by politicians of the Satsuma Domain and Chōshū Domain in the 1860s. The Meiji government was the early government of the Empire of Japan. Politicians of the Meiji government were known as the Meiji oli ...
had outlawed tattoos in the 19th century, a prohibition that stood for 70 years before being repealed in 1948. As of 6 June 2012, all new tattoos are forbidden for employees of the city of
Osaka is a Cities designated by government ordinance of Japan, designated city in the Kansai region of Honshu in Japan. It is the capital of and most populous city in Osaka Prefecture, and the List of cities in Japan, third most populous city in Ja ...
. Existing tattoos are required to be covered with proper clothing. The regulations were added to Osaka's ethical codes, and employees with tattoos were encouraged to have them removed. This was done because of the strong connection of tattoos with the
yakuza , also known as , are members of Transnational crime, transnational organized crime, organized crime syndicates originating in Japan. The Japanese police and media, by request of the police, call them , while the ''yakuza'' call themselves . ...
, or Japanese organized crime, after an Osaka official in February 2012 threatened a schoolchild by showing his tattoo. Tattoos had negative connotations in historical
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, most populous country, with a Population of China, population exceeding 1.4 billion, slig ...
, where criminals often had been marked by tattooing. The association of tattoos with
criminal In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It prescribes conduct perceived as thre ...
s was transmitted from China to influence Japan. Today, tattoos have remained a taboo in Chinese society. The Romans tattooed criminals and slaves, and in the 19th century released U.S. convicts, Australian convicts and British army deserters were identified by tattoos. Prisoners in
Nazi concentration camps From 1933 to 1945, Nazi Germany operated more than a thousand concentration camps, (officially) or (more commonly). The Nazi concentration camps are distinguished from other types of Nazi camps such as forced-labor camps, as well as concen ...
were tattooed with an identification number. Today, many prison inmates still tattoo themselves as an indication of time spent in prison. Native Americans also used tattoos to represent their tribe. Catholic
Croats The Croats (; hr, Hrvati ) are a South Slavs, South Slavic ethnic group who share a common Croatian Cultural heritage, ancestry, Culture of Croatia, culture, History of Croatia, history and Croatian language, language. They are also a recogn ...
of
Bosnia Bosnia and Herzegovina ( sh, / , ), abbreviated BiH () or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and Pars pro toto#Geography, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country at the crossroads of Southern Europe, south and southeast Euro ...
used religious Christian tattooing, especially of children and women, for protection against conversion to
Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the direct word of God in Islam, God (or ''Allah'') as it was revealed to Muh ...
during the Ottoman rule in the Balkans.


Modern associations

Tattoos are strongly
empirically In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the systematized study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, and language. Such questions are often posed as problems to be stud ...
associated with deviance,
personality disorders Personality disorders (PD) are a class of mental disorders characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience, exhibited across many contexts and deviating from those accepted by the individual's culture ...
and criminality. Although the general acceptance of tattoos is on the rise in Western society, they still carry a heavy stigma among certain social groups. Tattoos are generally considered an important part of the culture of the
Russian mafia Russian organized crime or Russian mafia (, ), otherwise known as Bratva (), is a collective of various organized crime elements originating in the Post-Soviet states, former Soviet Union. The initialism OPG is Organized Criminal (''prestupna ...
. Current cultural understandings of tattoos in Europe and North America have been greatly influenced by long-standing stereotypes based on deviant social groups in the 19th and 20th centuries. Particularly in North America, tattoos have been associated with stereotypes,
folklore Folklore is shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. This includes oral traditions such as Narrative, tales, legends, proverbs and jokes. They include material culture, r ...
and racism. Not until the 1960s and 1970s did people associate tattoos with such societal outcasts as bikers and prisoners. Today, in the United States many prisoners and criminal gangs use distinctive tattoos to indicate facts about their criminal behavior, prison sentences and organizational affiliation. A teardrop tattoo, for example, can be symbolic of murder, or each tear represents the death of a friend. At the same time, members of the U.S. military have an equally well-established and longstanding
history of tattooing Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times, as evidenced by mummified preserved skin, ancient art and the archaeological record. Both ancient art and archaeological finds of possible tattoo tools suggest tattooin ...
to indicate military units, battles, kills, etc., an association that remains widespread among older Americans. In Japan, tattoos are associated with
yakuza , also known as , are members of Transnational crime, transnational organized crime, organized crime syndicates originating in Japan. The Japanese police and media, by request of the police, call them , while the ''yakuza'' call themselves . ...
criminal groups, but there are non-yakuza groups such as Fukushi Masaichi's tattoo association that sought to preserve the skins of dead Japanese who have extensive tattoos. Tattooing is also common in the
British Armed Forces The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military, military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They al ...
. Depending on vocation, tattoos are accepted in a number of professions in America. Companies across many fields are increasingly focused on diversity and inclusion. Mainstream art galleries hold exhibitions of both conventional and custom tattoo designs, such as ''Beyond Skin'', at the Museum of Croydon. In Britain, there is evidence of women with tattoos, concealed by their clothing, throughout the 20th century, and records of women tattooists such as Jessie Knight from the 1920s. A study of "at-risk" (as defined by school absenteeism and truancy) adolescent girls showed a positive correlation between body modification and negative feelings towards the body and low self-esteem; however, the study also demonstrated that a strong motive for body modification is the search for "self and attempts to attain mastery and control over the body in an age of increasing alienation". The prevalence of women in the tattoo industry in the 21st century, along with larger numbers of women bearing tattoos, appears to be changing negative perceptions. In ''Covered in Ink'' by Beverly Yuen Thompson, she interviews heavily tattooed women in Washington, Miami, Orlando, Houston, Long Beach, and Seattle from 2007 to 2010 using
participant observation Participant observation is one type of data collection method by practitioner-scholars typically used in qualitative research and ethnography. This type of methodology is employed in many disciplines, particularly anthropology (incl. cultural ...
and in-depth interviews of 70 women. Younger generations are typically more unbothered by heavily tattooed women, while older generation including the participants parents are more likely to look down on them, some even go to the extreme of disowning their children for getting tattoos. Typically how the family reacts is an indicator of their relationship in general. Family members who weren't accepting of tattoos often wanted to scrub the images off, pour holy water on them or have them surgically removed. Families who were emotionally accepting of their family members were able to maintain close bonds after tattooing.


Advertising and marketing

Former sailor Rowland Hussey Macy, who formed
Macy's Macy's (originally R. H. Macy & Co.) is an American chain of high-end department stores founded in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy. It became a division of the Cincinnati-based Federated Department Stores in 1994, through which it is affiliated wit ...
department stores, used a red star tattoo that he had on his hand for the store's logo. Tattoos have also been used in marketing and advertising with companies paying people to have logos of brands like
HBO Home Box Office (HBO) is an American premium television network, which is the flagship property of namesake parent subsidiary Home Box Office, Inc., itself a unit owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. The overall Home Box Office business unit is b ...
,
Red Bull Red Bull is a brand of energy drinks of Austria, Austrian company Red Bull GmbH. With 38% market share, it is the most popular energy drink brand as of 2019. Since its launch in 1987, more than 100 billion cans of Red Bull have been sold worldwid ...
, ASOS.com and Sailor Jerry's rum tattooed in their bodies. This practice is known as "skinvertising". B.T.'s Smokehouse, a barbecue restaurant located in Massachusetts, offered customers free meals for life if they had the logo of the establishment tattooed on a visible part of their bodies. Nine people took the business up on the offer.


Health risks

The pain of tattooing can range from uncomfortable to excruciating depending on the location of the tattooing the body. The pain can cause fainting. Because it requires breaking the immunologic barrier formed by the skin, tattooing carries health risks including infection and allergic reactions. Modern tattooists reduce health risks by following universal precautions working with single-use items and sterilizing their equipment after each use. Many jurisdictions require that tattooists have blood-borne pathogen training such as that provided through the
Red Cross The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is a Humanitarianism, humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million Volunteering, volunteers, members and staff worldwide. It was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure re ...
and OSHA. As of 2009 (in the United States) there have been no reported cases of HIV contracted from tattoos. In amateur tattooing, such as the practice in prisons, there is an elevated risk of infection. Infections that can theoretically be transmitted by the use of unsterilized tattoo equipment or contaminated ink include surface infections of the skin, fungal infections, some forms of
hepatitis Hepatitis is inflammation of the liver parenchyma, liver tissue. Some people or animals with hepatitis have no symptoms, whereas others develop yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice), Anorexia (symptom), poor appetite ...
,
herpes simplex virus Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2), also known by their taxonomical names '' Human alphaherpesvirus 1'' and '' Human alphaherpesvirus 2'', are two members of the human ''Herpesviridae'' family, a set of viruses that produce viral i ...
,
HIV The human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) are two species of ''Lentivirus'' (a subgroup of retrovirus) that infect humans. Over time, they cause AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition in which progressive failure of the ...
, staph,
tetanus Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a bacterial infection caused by '' Clostridium tetani'', and is characterized by muscle spasms. In the most common type, the spasms begin in the jaw and then progress to the rest of the body. Each spasm usual ...
, and
tuberculosis Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by ''Mycobacterium tuberculosis'' (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in ...
. Tattoo inks have been described as "remarkably nonreactive histologically". However, cases of allergic reactions to tattoo inks, particularly certain colors, have been medically documented. This is sometimes due to the presence of nickel in an ink pigment, which triggers a common metal allergy. Occasionally, when a
blood vessel The blood vessels are the components of the circulatory system that transport blood throughout the human body. These vessels transport blood cells, nutrients, and oxygen to the tissues of the body. They also take waste and carbon dioxide aw ...
is punctured during the tattooing procedure, a
bruise A bruise, also known as a contusion, is a type of hematoma of tissue (biology), tissue, the most common cause being capillary, capillaries damaged by Physical trauma, trauma, causing localized bleeding that extravasates into the surrounding int ...
/
hematoma A hematoma, also spelled haematoma, or blood suffusion is a localized bleeding outside of blood vessels, due to either disease or trauma including injury or surgery and may involve blood continuing to seep from broken capillary, capillaries. A he ...
may appear. At the same time, a number of tattoo inks may contain hazardous substances, and a proposal has been submitted by the
European Chemicals Agency The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA; ) is an agencies of the European Union, agency of the European Union which manages the technical and administrative aspects of the implementation of the European Union regulation called Registration, Evaluat ...
(ECHA) to restrict the intentional use or concentration limit of approximately 4000 substances when contained in tattoo inks. According to a study by th
European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON
, a number of modern-day tattoo inks contain nanomaterials. These engender significant nanotoxicological concerns. Certain colours – red or similar colours such as purple, pink, and orange – tend to cause more problems and damage compared to other colours. Red ink has even caused
skin Skin is the layer of usually soft, flexible outer tissue covering the body of a vertebrate animal, with three main functions: protection, regulation, and sensation. Other cuticle, animal coverings, such as the arthropod exoskeleton, have diffe ...

skin
and
flesh Flesh is any aggregation of soft tissue, soft tissue (biology), tissues of an organism. Various multicellular organisms have soft tissues that may be called "flesh". In mammals, including humans, ''flesh'' encompasses muscles, adipose tissue, f ...
damages so severe that the
amputation Amputation is the removal of a Limb (anatomy), limb by Physical trauma, trauma, medical illness, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as cancer, malignancy or gangrene. In ...
of a leg or an arm has been necessary. If part of a tattoo (especially if red) begins to cause even minor troubles, like becoming itchy or worse, lumpy, then Danish experts strongly suggest to remove the red parts. In 2017, researchers from the
European Synchrotron Radiation Facility The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) is a joint research facility situated in Grenoble, France, supported by 22 countries (13 member countries: France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, ...
in France say the chemicals in tattoo ink can travel in the bloodstream and accumulate in the lymph nodes, obstructing their ability to fight infections. However, the authors noted in their paper that most tattooed individuals including the donors analyzed do not suffer from chronic inflammation. Tattoo artists frequently recommend sun protection of skin to prevent tattoos from fading and to preserve skin integrity to make future tattooing easier.


Removal

While tattoos are considered permanent, it is sometimes possible to remove them, fully or partially, with laser treatments. Typically, carbon based pigments, or iron-oxide-based pigments, as well as some colored inks can be removed more completely than inks of other colors. The expense and pain associated with removing tattoos are typically greater than the expense and pain associated with applying them. Methods other than laser tattoo removal methods include
dermabrasion Dermabrasion is a type of surgical skin planing, generally with the goal of removing acne Acne, also known as ''acne vulgaris'', is a long-term Cutaneous condition, skin condition that occurs when Keratinocyte, dead skin cells and Sebum, o ...
, salabrasion (scrubbing the skin with
salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in the form of a natural crystallinity, crystalline mineral is known as rock salt or halite. ...
), reduction techniques,
cryosurgery Cryosurgery is the use of extreme cold in surgery Surgery ''cheirourgikē'' (composed of χείρ, "hand", and ἔργον, "work"), via la, chirurgiae, meaning "hand work". is a medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental ...
and excision—which is sometimes still used along with
skin graft Skin grafting, a type of graft surgery, involves the transplantation of skin. The transplanted tissue is called a skin graft. Surgeons may use skin grafting to treat: * extensive wounding or trauma * burns * areas of extensive skin loss ...
s for larger tattoos. These older methods, however, have been nearly completely replaced by laser removal treatment options.


Temporary tattoos

A temporary tattoo is a non-permanent image on the skin resembling a permanent tattoo. As a form of body painting, temporary tattoos can be drawn, painted, or airbrushed.


Types


Decal-style temporary tattoos

Decal A decal (, , ) or transfer is a plastic, cloth, paper, or ceramic substrate (printing), substrate that has printed on it a pattern or image that can be moved to another surface upon wikt:contact, contact, usually with the aid of heat or water ...
(press-on) temporary tattoos are used to decorate any part of the body. They may last for a day or for more than a week.


Metallic jewelry tattoos

Foil temporary tattoos are a variation of decal-style temporary tattoos, printed using a foil stamping technique instead of using ink. The foil design is printed as a mirror image in order to be viewed in the right direction once it is applied to the skin. Each metallic tattoo is protected by a transparent protective film.


Airbrush temporary tattoos

Although they have become more popular and usually require a greater investment, airbrush temporary tattoos are less likely to achieve the look of a permanent tattoo, and may not last as long as press-on temporary tattoos. An artist sprays on airbrush tattoos using a stencil with alcohol-based cosmetic inks. Like decal tattoos, airbrush temporary tattoos also are easily removed with rubbing alcohol or
baby oil Baby oil is, in general terms, an inert oil for the purpose of keeping skin soft and supple. It is often used on babies for the purpose of maintaining "baby-soft" skin, but it is also often used by adults for skincare and massage. The skin of an ...
.


Henna temporary tattoos

Another tattoo alternative is
henna Henna is a dye prepared from the plant ''Lawsonia inermis'', also known as the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet, the sole species of the genus ''Lawsonia''. ''Henna'' can also refer to the temporary body art resulting fr ...
-based tattoos, which generally contain no additives. Henna is a plant-derived substance which is painted on the skin, staining it a reddish-orange-to-brown color. Because of the semi-permanent nature of henna, they lack the realistic colors typical of decal temporary tattoos. Due to the time-consuming application process, it is a relatively poor option for children. Dermatological publications report that allergic reactions to natural henna are very rare and the product is generally considered safe for skin application. Serious problems can occur, however, from the use of henna with certain additives. The FDA and medical journals report that painted black henna temporary tattoos are especially dangerous.


Safety


Decal-style temporary tattoo safety

Decal temporary tattoos, when legally sold in the United States, have had their color additives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as cosmetics – the FDA has determined these colorants are safe for "direct dermal contact". While the FDA has received some accounts of minor skin irritation, including redness and swelling, from this type of temporary tattoo, the agency has found these symptoms to be "child specific" and not significant enough to support warnings to the public. Unapproved pigments, however, which are sometimes used by non-US manufacturers, can provoke allergic reactions in anyone.


Airbrush tattoo safety

The types of airbrush paints manufactured for crafting, creating art or decorating clothing should never be used for tattooing. These paints can be allergenic or toxic.


Henna tattoo safety

The
FDA The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA or US FDA) is a List of United States federal agencies, federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is respon ...
regularly issues warnings to consumers about avoiding any temporary tattoos labeled as black henna or pre-mixed henna as these may contain potentially harmful ingredients including
silver nitrate Silver nitrate is an inorganic compound with chemical formula . It is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds, such as those used in photography. It is far less sensitive to light than the silver halide, halides. It was once called ' ...
,
carmine Carmine ()also called cochineal (when it is extracted from the cochineal insect), cochineal extract, crimson lake, or carmine lake is a pigment of a bright- red color obtained from the aluminium complex derived from carminic acid. Specific co ...
,
pyrogallol Pyrogallol is an organic compound In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen or carbon-carbon chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's ability to Catenation, catenate (form chains with other ...
, disperse orange dye and
chromium Chromium is a chemical element with the Symbol (chemistry), symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6 element, group 6. It is a steely-grey, Luster (mineralogy), lustrous, hard, and brittle transition metal. Chromium me ...
. Black henna gets its color from paraphenylenediamine (PPD), a textile dye approved by the FDA for human use only in hair coloring. In Canada, the use of PPD on the skin, including hair dye, is banned. Research has linked these and other ingredients to a range of health problems including allergic reactions, chronic inflammatory reactions, and late-onset allergic reactions to related clothing and hairdressing dyes. They can cause these reactions long after application. Neither black henna nor pre-mixed henna are approved for cosmetic use by the FDA.


Religious views

Egyptians Egyptians ( arz, المَصرِيُون, translit=al-Maṣriyyūn, ; arz, المَصرِيِين, translit=al-Maṣriyyīn, ; cop, ⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, remenkhēmi) are an ethnic group native to the Nile Valley in Egypt. Egyptian ident ...
originally used tattoos to show dedication to a god, and the tattoos were believed to convey divine protection. In
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religions, Indian religion or ''dharma'', a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. As a religion, it is the Major religious groups, world's third-largest, with over 1.2–1.35 billion ...
, Buddhism, and Neopaganism, tattoos are accepted. Southeast Asia has a tradition of protective tattoos variously known as ''sak yant'' or yantra tattoos that include Buddhist images, prayers, and symbols. Images of the Buddha or other religious figures have caused controversy in some Buddhist countries when incorporated into tattoos by Westerners who do not follow traditional customs regarding respectful display of images of Buddhas or deities.
Judaism Judaism ( he, ''Yahăḏūṯ'') is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, monotheism, monotheistic, and ethnic religion comprising the collective religious, cultural, and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. It has its roots ...
generally prohibits tattoos among its adherents based on the commandments in Leviticus 19. Jews tend to believe this commandment only applies to Jews and not to
gentiles Gentile () is a word that usually means "someone who is not a Jew". Other groups that claim Israelite heritage, notably Mormons, sometimes use the term ''gentile'' to describe outsiders. More rarely, the term is generally used as a synonym fo ...
. However, an increasing number of young Jews are getting tattoos either for fashion, or an expression of their faith. There is no specific teaching in the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...
prohibiting tattoos. Most
Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
denominations believe that the
Old Covenant The Mosaic covenant (named after Moses), also known as the Sinaitic covenant (after the biblical Mount Sinai), refers to a Covenant (biblical), covenant between Yahweh, God and the Israelites#Biblical Israelites, Israelites, including their pros ...
ceremonial laws in Leviticus were abrogated with the coming of the
New Covenant The New Covenant (Biblical Hebrew, Hebrew '; Koine Greek, Greek ''diatheke kaine'') is a biblical interpretation which was originally derived from a Book of Jeremiah#Sections of the Book, phrase which is contained in the Book of Jeremiah (Jere ...
; that the prohibition of various cultural practices, including tattooing, was intended to distinguish the
Israelites The Israelites (; , , ) were a group of ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes in the ancient Near East who, during the Iron Age, inhabited a part of Canaan. The earliest recorded evidence of a people by the name of Israel ...
from neighbouring peoples for a limited period of time, and was not intended as a universal law to apply to the gentiles for all time. Many
Coptic Christians Copts ( cop, ⲛⲓⲣⲉⲙⲛ̀ⲭⲏⲙⲓ ; ar, الْقِبْط ) are a Christians, Christian ethnoreligious group indigenous to North Africa who have primarily inhabited the area of modern Egypt and Sudan since Ancient history, antiqui ...
in Egypt have a cross tattoo on their right wrist to differentiate themselves from Muslims. However, some
Evangelical Evangelicalism (), also called evangelical Christianity or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide Interdenominationalism, interdenominational movement within Protestantism, Protestant Christianity that affirms the centrality of being "bor ...
and fundamentalist
Protestant Protestantism is a branch of Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Na ...
denominations believe the commandment applies today for Christians and believe it is a sin to get a tattoo. In
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
teaching, what is said in Leviticus (19:28) is taught not binding upon Christians for the same reason that the verse "nor shall there come upon you a garment of cloth made of two kinds of stuff" (Lev. 19:19) is not binding upon Christians. It is a matter of what the tattoo depicts. The Catholic Church says the images should not be immoral, such as sexually explicit, Satanic, or in any way opposed to the truths and teachings of Christianity. Tattoos are considered to be
haram ''Haram'' (; ar, حَرَام, , ) is an Arabic term meaning 'Forbidden'. This may refer to either something sacred to which access is not allowed to the people who are not in a state of purity or who are not initiated into the sacred knowle ...
for many
Sunni Muslims Sunni Islam () is the largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam, followed by 85–90% of the world's Muslims. Its name comes from the word ''Sunnah'', referring to the tradition of Muhammad. The differences between Sunni and Shia ...
, based on rulings from scholars and passages in the Sunni
Hadith Ḥadīth ( or ; ar, حديث, , , , , , , literally "talk" or "discourse") or Athar ( ar, أثر, , literally "remnant"/"effect") refers to what the majority of Muslims believe to be a record of the words, actions, and the silent approva ...
.
Shia Islam Shīʿa Islam or Shīʿīsm is the second-largest Islamic schools and branches, branch of Islam. It holds that the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad in Islam, Muhammad designated Ali, ʿAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib as his S ...
does not prohibit tattooing, and many Shia Muslims (Lebanese, Iraqis, Yemenis, Iranians) have tattoos, specifically with religious themes.


In popular culture

* ''Inked'' (magazine), a tattoo lifestyle digital media company that bills itself as the outsiders' insider media *See List of tattoo TV shows


See also


Styles

* Black-and-gray * Borneo traditional tattooing * Chinese calligraphy tattoos *
Christian tattooing in Bosnia and Herzegovina or is a Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic languages, South Slavic language and ...
*
Criminal tattoo Criminal tattoos are a type of tattoos associated with Crime, criminals to show gang membership and record the wearer's personal history—such as their skills, specialties, accomplishments, incarceration, world view and/or means of personal exp ...
* Deq (tattoo) *
Irezumi (also spelled or sometimes ) is the Japanese word for tattoo, and is used in English to refer to a distinctive style of Japanese tattooing, though it is also used as a blanket term to describe a number of tattoo styles originating in Japan, inc ...
, traditional Japanese tattoo * New school (tattoo) *
Old school (tattoo) Old school, also called American traditional or Western traditional, is a tattoo A tattoo is a form of body modification made by inserting tattoo ink, dyes, and/or pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin t ...
* Pe'a *
Prison tattooing Prison tattooing is the practice of creating and displaying tattoo A tattoo is a form of body modification made by inserting tattoo ink, dyes, and/or pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to form a ...
*
Sailor tattoos Sailor tattoos are traditions of tattoo, tattooing among Sailor, sailors, including images with symbolic meanings. These practices date back to at least the 16th century among European sailors, and since Colonial history of the United States, col ...
*
Scarification Scarification involves scratching, etching, burning/Human branding, branding, or superficially cutting designs, pictures, or words into the skin as a permanent body modification or body art. The body modification can take roughly 6–12 months t ...
*
Sleeve tattoo A sleeve tattoo or tattoo sleeve is a large tattoo or collection of smaller tattoos that covers most or all of a person's arm. There is a difference between an arm covered in tattoos and a sleeve tattoo: a sleeve tattoo has a unified theme, wherea ...
* Soot tattoo *
SS blood group tattoo SS blood group tattoos (german: Blutgruppentätowierung) were worn by members of the ''Waffen-SS'' in Nazi Germany during World War II to identify the individual's blood type. After the war, the tattoo was taken to be ''prima facie'' evidence of ...


Location

* Body suit (tattoo) *
Genital tattooing Genital tattooing is the practice of placing permanent marks under the skin of the genitals in the form of tattoos. Occurrence Though tattoos in general have enjoyed an upsurge of popularity, particularly in the west and among younger people, ...
* Lower back tattoo * Scleral tattooing


Others

* Biomechanical art *
Body art Body art is art Art is a diverse range of human activity, and resulting product, that involves creative or imaginative talent expressive of technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed ...
** Body painting **
Mehndi Mehndi () is a form of body art Body art is art Art is a diverse range of human activity, and resulting product, that involves creative or imaginative talent expressive of technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptu ...
(also called
henna Henna is a dye prepared from the plant ''Lawsonia inermis'', also known as the henna tree, the mignonette tree, and the Egyptian privet, the sole species of the genus ''Lawsonia''. ''Henna'' can also refer to the temporary body art resulting fr ...
) *
Foreign body granuloma A foreign body reaction (FBR) is a typical tissue response to a foreign body A foreign body (FB) is any object originating outside the body of an organism In biology, an organism () is any life, living system that functions as an ind ...
* Fusen gum * Legal status of tattooing in European countries * Legal status of tattooing in the United States *
List of tattoo artists This is a list of notable tattoo artists. References

{{DEFAULTSORT:List Of Tattoo Artists Lists of artists, Tattoo Tattoo artists, List ...
* Lucky Diamond Rich, world's most tattooed person * Religious perspectives on tattooing *
Tattoo convention A tattoo convention is a meeting and exhibition for tattoo artist, tattoo practitioners and enthusiasts from different shops & areas, as well as anyone who wishes to see the world of tattooing up close. History The first world tattoo convention w ...
*
Tattooed lady Tattooed ladies were working class women who acquired tattoos and performed in circuses, sideshows, and dime show museums as means for earning a substantial living. At the height of their popularity during the turn of the 20th century, tattooed ...


References


Citations


General sources

; Anthropological * Buckland, A. W. (1887). "On Tattooing", in ''Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland'', 1887/12, p. 318–328 * Caplan, Jane (ed.) (2000): ''Written on the Body: the Tattoo in European and American History'',
Princeton University Press Princeton University Press is an independent Academic publishing, publisher with close connections to Princeton University. Its mission is to disseminate scholarship within academia and society at large. The press was founded by Whitney Darrow, ...
* DeMello, Margo (2000) ''Bodies of Inscription: a Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community'', California. Durham NC: Duke University Press * * Gell, Alfred (1993) ''Wrapping in Images: Tattooing in Polynesia'', Oxford: Clarendon Press * Gilbert, Stephen G. (2001) ''Tattoo History: a Source Book'', New York: Juno Books * Gustafson, Mark (1997) "''Inscripta in fronte'': Penal Tattooing in Late Antiquity", in ''Classical Antiquity'', April 1997, Vol. 16/No. 1, pp. 79–105 * Hambly, Wilfrid Dyson (1925) ''The History of Tattooing and Its Significance: With Some Account of Other Forms of Corporal Marking'', London: H. F. & G. Witherby (reissued: Detroit 1974) * Hesselt van Dinter, Maarten (2005) ''The World of Tattoo; An Illustrated History''. Amsterdam, KIT Publishers * Jones, C. P. (1987) "Stigma: Tattooing and Branding in Graeco–Roman Antiquity", in ''Journal of Roman Studies'', 77/1987, pp. 139–155 * Juno, Andrea. ''Modern Primitives''. ''
Re/Search RE/Search Publications is an American magazine and book publisher, based in San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the commerci ...
'' #12 (October 1989) * Kächelen, Wolf-Peter (2004): ''Tatau und Tattoo – Eine Epigraphik der Identitätskonstruktion.'' Shaker Verlag, Aachen, . * Kächelen, Wolf-Peter (2020): "Tatau und Tattoo Revisited: Tattoo pandemic: A forerunner of globel economic and social collapse." In
Wolf-Peter Kächelen – Tatau und Tattoo
* Lombroso, Cesare (1896) "The Savage Origin of Tattooing", in ''Popular Science Monthly'', ''
Popular Science ''Popular Science'' (also known as ''PopSci'') is an American digital magazine carrying popular science content, which refers to articles for the general reader on science and technology subjects. ''Popular Science'' has won over 58 awards, inclu ...
'' Vol. IV., 1896
Pang, Joey (2008) "Tattoo Art Expressions"
* Raviv, Shaun (2006) "Marked for Life: Jews and Tattoos" (''
Moment Magazine ''Moment'' is an independent magazine which focuses on the life of the American Jewish community. It is not tied to any particular Jewish movement or ideology. The publication features investigative stories and cultural criticism, highlighting th ...
''; June 2006)
"Comparative study about Ötzi's therapeutic tattoos" (L. Renaut, 2004, French and English abstract)
* Robley, Horatio (1896) ''Moko, or, Maori tattooing''. London: Chapman and Hall * Roth, H. Ling (1901) "Maori tatu and moko". In: ''Journal of the Anthropological Institute'' vol. 31, January–June 1901 * Rubin, Arnold (ed.) (1988) ''Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body'', Los Angeles: UCLA Museum of Cultural History * Sanders, Clinton R. (1989) ''Customizing the Body: the Art and Culture of Tattooing''. Philadelphia: Temple University Press * Sinclair, A. T. (1909) "Tattooing of the North American Indians", in ''
American Anthropologist ''American Anthropologist'' is the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), published quarterly by Wiley-Blackwell, Wiley. The "New Series" began in 1899 under an editorial board that included Franz Boas, Daniel G. Brint ...
'' 1909/11, No. 3, p. 362–400 * Thompson, Beverly Yuen (2015)
Covered in Ink: Tattoos, Women and the Politics of the Body
'',
New York University Press New York University Press (or NYU Press) is a university press that is part of New York University. History NYU Press was founded in 1916 by the then chancellor of NYU, Elmer Ellsworth Brown. Directors * Arthur Huntington Nason, 1916–1932 ...
. * Wianecki, Shannon (2011
"Marked"
''
Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine The island of Maui (; Hawaiian language, Hawaiian: ) is the second-largest of the islands of the state of Hawaii at 727.2 square miles (1,883 km2) and is the List of islands of the United States by area, 17th largest island in the United S ...
''. ; Popular and artistic * Green, Terisa. ''Ink: The Not-Just-Skin-Deep Guide to Getting a Tattoo'' New York:
New American Library The New American Library (also known as NAL) is an American publisher Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refer ...
* Green, Terisa. ''The Tattoo Encyclopedia: A Guide to Choosing Your Tattoo'' New York: New American Library * Kraków, Amy. ''Total Tattoo Book'' New York:
Warner Books Grand Central Publishing is a book publishing Imprint (trade name), imprint of Hachette Book Group, originally established in 1970 as Warner Books when Warner Communications acquired the Paperback Library. When Time Warner sold their book publishi ...
; Medical * * * * * Paola Piccinini, Laura Contor, Ivana Bianchi, Chiara Senaldi, Sazan Pakalin: ''Safety of tattoos and permanent make-up'',
Joint Research Centre The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to European Union (EU) policy. The JRC is ...
, 2016, , doi:10.2788/011817.


Further reading

* *


External links


Tattoos, The Permanent Art
documentary produced by Off Book
History, Ink
produced by Meghan Glass Hughes for The Valentine Richmond History Center {{Authority control 1970s fashion 1980s fashion 1990s fashion 2000s fashion 2010s fashion Articles containing video clips Polynesian words and phrases Skin conditions resulting from physical factors