In general, history of tattoos is as old as that of mankind. Otzi the Iceman, bearing 57 tattoos dated about 3000 BCE is the most notable find in this regard. Tattoos mummies also have been found in western part of China dated about 1000 BCE. Not only this, but tattooing in Japan is supposed to be as old as about 10000 years, that is into the Paleolithic era. Tattoos found at above places are of various animals, series of dots, straight lines, crosses and monsters. Hence the history of tribal patterns for tattoos is very old and full of stories.
The word tattoo was originated from the Samoan word tatau, with meaning to mark or strike twice. Tattoo means literally to strike twice with the colored hands. In 1769, this word tattoo was first found to be used in a diary of Captain James Cook. This was the first known use of the this word in English. During his voyage to the Marquesas Islands, James Cook noted that the people there, print signs on their bodies and call it tattaw. Now it is commonly accepted that the sailors on the voyage first used the term tattaw and later it practiced to whole Europe and other places.
Usage And Practice
When we think of period of practicing tattooing, if it be Maori tribal tattoos or chest tribal tattoos, may have started much before than the evidences or proofs we have. This proof or evidence goes back up to the actual bodies with tattoos carved on them. But there is not more to say about, as no other prominent occurrence of practice of tattooing has been found.
Now it is accepted that earlier tattooing may have included the hand-pricking the skin to insert dyes extracted from various plants or herbs and the rubbing of cuts or wounds with ashes. The hand-pricking was generally done with animal bones or sharpened sticks while the wounds may or may not have been inflicted on purpose.
Use of tribal patterns for tattoos to decorate individuals or to mark a rite of passage is most common practice. These tattoos were also used as symbols of spiritual devotion and function and to mark a rite of passage. They were also used to represent people as slaves or convicts or outcasts of society.
These days, this practice remains there as most of the same type. Now people get tattoos to represent themselves different, to show religious or spiritual devotion, to remember an important event in their lives or to commemorate the death of a loved one. And they are still used to mark membership into a certain community, such as fraternities and gangs and possession such as slaves.
That is to say, the history of tribal patterns for tattoos goes back as long as existence of mankind on the earth. They have been used for various purposes, several of which exits even today. Thus tribal tattoos are not new to us at all. At the same time, they are representing our ever changing and refreshing society.
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