These days, we see tattoos everywhere; from sports stars to rock stars, baristas to even CEOs. They have been growing in popularity in recent times across both sexes, and with the invention of shows like Miami Inked and Ink Masters over the last few years, there seems to be no limit to their development in society. But where did it all begin?
While the earliest physical proof of tattoos on a human was found on a South American mummy from around 6000 BC, it is speculated that tattoos were around much earlier than that, dating back as far as 10,000 BC in Japan
The first tattoos were said to have been applied for either signs of wealth and prosperity, or for religious and spiritual reasons. Whether the recipient was looking to become more fertile, take a step towards their religious deity, create protection from demons, or many other reasons, tattoos were the conduit.
In the times of ancient Greece and Rome, tattoos were crudely marked onto slaves and criminals, as a way to easily identify them were they to escape. It was worn then as a mark of hopelessness and disgrace. Interestingly, however, in one unit of Roman soldiers was a solitary symbol that would be tattooed only on those who had first proved themselves in the line of battle first, which was obviously work with a sense of pride.
Outsiders Get Inked
Fast-forward a few years, and you’d find many different primitive-looking designs on sailors and other people who were said to have been living outside normal societal framework; carnival folk, homeless, and the like. It was becoming more popular within enlisted men in the military to have different designs put onto their skin to proudly display the unit they were attached to (similar to in ancient Rome).
Second Word War Surge
World War II brought with it not only an endless amount of suffering and tragedy, but also because of the sheer amount of enlisted men, a lot more tattooing. A new design technique was introduced to the Western world by way of the famous Sailor Jerry.
After The War To Modern-Day
From the bikie gangs that were formed after the war by ex-servicemen who sported their military ink, to the anti-establishment punk movement of the 70s, they were still marking the skin of those labelled as outcasts of society until recently.