Tattoos are hot, modern day body art and fashion accessories. Tattoos have been around for ages and still are a cultural icon Everyone wears them, from the celebs to the everyday moms and dads. Ladies, especially, have become very aware of the appeal that a well placed tattoo can have lower back tattoos, small and secret little tattoos, flower tattoos and many more, are meant to surprise and please and decorate and so it does too, otherwise it wouldn't have been that popular!
Tattoos dating back to the second millennium before Christ have been noted on mummies as body decoration. Tattooing has been an ongoing practice since about ten thousand years ago in Japan as evidence shows. Different ancient traditions and cultures have been identified by the types of tattoos that they made use of.
Tattoos have been a popular form of body art for thousands of years in Europe and Asia. With the spread of Christianity in Europe and the effort to convert tribal people with traditional cultures that involved ritual tattooing, to Western religions and cultures, the use of tattoos almost completely disappeared in Europe for a while, because it was considered a pagan practice. Europeans to see tattoos again after it had lost its popularity for so many years, were Captain Cook and his sailors when they visited the Marquesas Islands in the 18th Century. Captain Cook described the tattoos as markings and said that the Polynesians called it "Tataw". The sailors who were on the journey with him reinstated the art in Europe, where it soon was reinstated as a popular form of body-art. Sailors, especially, were associated with tattoos At the time tattooing was a common custom outside of Europe and until today tattooing is a tradition amongst indigenous peoples around the world.
Tattoos' Cultural Status Tattoos are mostly used to enhance the wearer but also have symbolic and traditional meanings that sometimes have nothing to do with adorning the wearer. The symbolism of tattoos differ in diverse cultures but mostly are symbols of status, religion, protection, fertility etc. In many tribal cultures the coming of age initiation process involves tattooing to mark the wearer as an adult and usually signifies that the wearer then has a certain sexual independence. Tattoos were also utilized, until recent times, by authorities to mark convicts and slaves. The holocaust victims of the Second World War were all bearers of tattoos that were used for identification purposes. Even animals were and still are tattooed for identification purposes, such as thoroughbred racehorses.
Today tattoos are mostly used for decorative or cosmetic purposes. In modern society tattoos still have meanings and there is a strong awareness of the cultural meanings of the different symbols, such as religious, magical, protective iconic, memorial, and of course the ever popular sentimental love and sex symbols. Mystical value is also given to certain animal, flower, insect and iconic symbols to symbolize the status of the wearer's cultural mind-set. Tattoos are often used to signify that the wearer associates with particular cultural or religious groups. The armed forces banned tattooing for a long time, but tattooing was and still is practiced discreetly amongst soldiers and sailors to indicate battles fought, killings made, in memory of lost loved ones, etc. Military tattoos have gained popularity amongst non-military wearers as well and is established as a tattoo category by itself. Criminal gangs use identifying tattoos to symbolize their gang's significance and reputation. Prisoners wear tattoos to indicate their social standing in prison.
A prisoner with a tear tattoo is to be feared, because it signifies that the wearer has killed some-one, with a tear tattoo for each killing. The association of tattoos with criminality and brutality have given them a negative connotation in many societies. Women who wear tattoos are sometimes labeled as people with low moral values and especially lower-back tattoos have been named "tramp-stamps". In modern society, the connotation has worn thin, though, and it has become perfectly acceptable and a fashion accessory in modern western cultures for women to wear tattoos. Ethic groups and sub-cultures also use identifying tattoos as symbols for their beliefs. Icons with very explicit cultural meanings are sometimes misinterpreted and used for the decorative value, such as Chinese and Japanese symbols that are tattooed on uninformed Westerners. The aesthetical value of Eastern tattoos make them a very popular tattoo category. Tattoos are made by perforating the skin, or even allowing for a small cut to be made into the epidermis of the skin and then inserting pigments into the perforation or cut.