Tattooing has been around for ages. All the way back to the nomadic races. It has always been a form of expression in one form of another. In some cultures, tattooing was done for status within the culture, or rank if you will. It was a very sacred and valued art. The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian "tatu" which means "to mark something."
It is debatably claimed that tattooing has existed since 12,000 years BC. The purpose of tattooing varies from culture to culture and its place on the time line. But there are commonalties that exist from the earliest known tattoos to those being done on today's pop stars & other celebrities.
These days tattoos there are different ways of tattooing both permanent & temporary. Temporary tattoos have become quite famous in such a short time as they are affordable, pain less & above all they can be removed any time & that part of your body is again ready for a sizzling hot new Tattoo!!
Tattoos have always had an important role in ritual and tradition. In Borneo, gals & women tattooed their symbols on their forearm representing their particular skill. If a woman wore a symbol indicating she was a skilled weaver or have any other talent, her status as prime marriageable material was improved. Tattoos around the wrist and fingers were believed to ward away illness. Throughout history tattoos have signified membership in a clan or society. Even today, groups like the Hells Angels tattoo their particular group symbol. TV and movies have used the idea of a tattoo indicating membership in a secret society numerous times. It has been believed that the wearer of an image calls the spirit of that image. The ferocity of a tiger would belong to the tattooed person. That tradition holds true today shown by the proliferation of images of tigers, snakes, and birds of prey.
In recorded history, the earliest tattoos can be found in Egypt during the time of the construction of the great pyramids (It undoubtedly started much earlier). When the Egyptians expanded their empire, the art of tattooing spread as well. The civilizations of Crete, Greece, Persia, and Arabia picked up and expanded the art form. Around 2000 BC tattooing spread to China.
The Greeks used tattooing for communication among spies. Markings identified the spies and showed their rank. Romans marked criminals and slaves. This practice is still carried on today. The Ainu people of western Asia used tattooing to show social status. Girls coming of age were marked to announce their place in society, as were the married women. The Ainu are noted for introducing tattoos to Japan where it developed into a religious and ceremonial rite. In Borneo, women were the tattooists. It was a cultural tradition. They created designs indicating the owner’s station in life and the tribe he belonged to. Kayan women had delicate arm tattoos which looked like lacy gloves. Dayak warriors who had "taken a head" had tattoos on their hands. The tattoos garnered respect and assured the owners status for life. Polynesians developed tattoos to mark tribal communities, families, and rank. They brought their art to New Zealand and developed a facial style of tattooing called Moko which is still being used today. Facts states that Mayan, Incas, and Aztecs used tattooing in the ceremonies. Even the isolated tribes in Alaska got trained for tattooing, their technique indicating it was learned from the Ainu.
In the west, early Britons used tattoos in ceremonies. The Danes, Norse, and Saxons tattooed family crests (a tradition still practiced today). In 787 AD, Pope Hadrian prohibited tattooing. It still thrived in Britain until the Norman Invasion of 1066. The Normans disdained tattooing. It disappeared from Western culture from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
While tattooing diminished in the west, it flourished in Japan. At first, tattoos were used to mark criminals. First offences were marked with a line across the forehead. A second offence was marked by adding an arch. A third offence was marked by another line. Together these marks formed the Japanese character for "dog". It appears this was the original "Three strikes your out" law. In time, the Japanese escalated the tattoo to an aesthetic art form. The Japanese body suit originated around 1700 as a reaction to strict laws concerning conspicuous consumption. Only royalty were allowed to wear ornate clothing. As a result of this, the middle class decorated themselves with elaborate full body tattoos. A highly tattooed person wearing only a loin cloth was considered well dressed, but only in the privacy of their own home.