Tattoos in Polynesians
All this color has survived to this day, preserving the traditions and secrets. So, in the islands of Polynesia, tattoos are still applied with soot. By the way, take a stick, such as split bamboo, dip it in the juice of an agave cactus, and then – in the soot leftover from the fire. Apparently, it is with this stick that the desired pattern is displayed on a person’s face, hands and back. It is likely that then another stick is brought to the body area, into which sharp shark teeth are inserted, a semblance of a hammer is taken and soot is killed under the skin along the contour of the drawing. It is said that in other cases, incisions are made on the surface of the body, which in turn is also rubbed with soot.
Tattoos in the Indians
It is interesting to compare the art of Indian tattooing with another heritage. After all, drawings on the face and body – an essential attribute of Indian culture, or rather, cultures, as each of the tribes had its own style. In general, the true Indian tradition was forcibly interrupted. Probably, reservations, the conquest of originally Indian lands led to the death of tribes and the destruction of culture. Nevertheless, the art of the Indians has not disappeared. Fortunately, their paraphernalia – long hair, headbands, fringe, beads, ponchos – began to mean belonging to a free and proud people.
The art of tattooing has also been preserved. In fact, the Indians used it to disguise, recognize their own, to indicate the status within the genus or as talismans. Probably patterns-charms were often built “from the opposite”: to avoid trouble, it was necessary to depict it. Then the spirits will decide that the trouble has already happened and there is nothing more for them to do. For this reason, the bodies of Indian soldiers were often decorated with a symbol of death – the skull. Indeed, the process of tattooing was very painful, with complications, up to death. Wounds were inflicted on the body, into which a mixture of soot and charcoal was rubbed.
The cause of tattoos was natural skin damage – according to some researchers. Moreover, the Hunter or warrior returned home with scars that formed a bizarre relief pattern on his body. On the other hand, it was believed that the more such honors there were on a man’s body, the more experienced, and courage he possessed. In short, with the complication and stratification of the hierarchy of society, these signs of valor began to be inflicted artificially, including on the bodies of those who did not participate in battles and hunting. On the contrary, honors within each tribe acquired a certain significance as modern honors. It turned out that the custom of tattooing has spread to women.
Tattoos in Ancient Japan
In ancient Japan, tattoos could tell whether a woman was married or not, whether she had children, and in what numbers. In some cultures, tattoos showed health: the more patterns, the more durable their carrier. Sometimes there were extreme manifestations of tattoos – for example if the mother did not have a tattoo, the newborn was killed. Naturally, tattoos for women were few and graceful. They often became located around the mouth, on the legs, on the upper thighs. In essence, their goal was to make their owner sexually attractive and prolific, as well as to protect them from the vagaries of fate and evil spirits.
The technology of Japanese tattoos is extremely time-consuming.
And yet the pattern, which will later be carved on the body, was painted on human skin with brushes. Undoubtedly, it was applied by hand, with a needle or a bunch of needles (to fill the plane) with a bamboo handle. Traditionally, the student began to practice working with needles, only after spending three years in close observation of the work of the owner – no explanation in the tattoo, as in other Eastern practices, was not. Initially, the student worked without carcass, working out the strength and rhythm of the blow on the bamboo handle. One way or another, the student did the first experiments on the teacher’s leg, then on his own leg, and only after successfully passing the exam he was admitted to the client. This is high professionalism, bordering on self-sacrifice!
The old masters believed that handicraft creates a special contact between the client and the artist. However, with the widespread use of machines and chemical dyes, traditional technology has declined. Old-school tattoo artists who remember pre-war Japan are still alive. But the younger generation of tattoo artists is choosing an international style of work, and it is possible that in a few decades the traditional Japanese tattoo will cease to exist.
Tattoo as a symbol of the profession
In the early Middle Ages, artisans tattooed belonging to a particular shop: carpenters, blacksmiths, and tinsmiths painted on the hand or chest symbols of their professional activities. Actually later, in the XIX-XX centuries, this tradition was revived among sailors, foundries, miners. And they really believe that modern tattooing in the West owes its popularity to them. By the way, later retired sailors began to open the first tattoo parlors in major port cities.
Tattoo and Christianity
With the spread of Christianity, this custom began to be ruthlessly eradicated as part of pagan rites. Christian missions. Negroes had a very negative attitude towards pagan practices of body adornment because in the Old Testament there is a direct prohibition to impose marks and marks on the body. Moreover, the ban was so strict that tattooing was not practiced among Europeans until the 18th century. In addition, Victorian morality considered the tattoo procedure too bloody and barbaric. Around the middle of the 19th century, tattooing was finally banned, but back in the 1920s, scientists sketched beautiful examples of tattoos belonging to the elderly and recorded songs about the sacred origins of tattoos.
Tattoo as an amulet
Tattooing has been revived, but no longer in the original, ritual-sacred sense, but as an ornamental overseas wonder, a fashion not burdened with any special meaning. English sailors in the 18th – 19th centuries used tattoos as amulets. They depicted large crucifixes on their backs and hoped that they would protect themselves from corporal punishment, which was widely practiced in the English navy at the time. Among the Arabs, tattoos with quotations from the Koran were considered the most reliable mascot.
Tattoos as punishment
Tattoos were not always and not everywhere a positive assessment, a symbol of valor, sometimes it marked punishment. Japan had its own method of celebrating an unfortunate person who broke the law. Also, tattoos on the face became the first of 5 classic punishments in China. In the same way, prisoners of war and slaves were noticed, making it easier for them to identify and thus complicating their escape. Both the Romans and the Greeks used tattoos for the same purposes, and the Spanish conquistadors continued this practice in Nicaragua and Mexico. And in Russia – the criminal was branded with the word “thief”. During World War I, deserters were marked with the letter D in Britain, and during World War II, prisoners were given serial numbers in concentration camps.
Tattoos as art
Only in the early ’50s did tattoos say goodbye to the gloomy tinge of historical heritage. Surprisingly, the surge of youth culture of the ’50-the ’60s gave birth to a new generation of tattoo artists, whose bold experiments and creative ambitions brought the tattoo to the rank of art. They widely borrowed traditional images of other cultures (Polynesia, the Far East, and the American Indians). This has given rise to many trends and styles. The search for new means of expression and a new view of personal freedom led to the restoration of many ancient methods of tattooing. The first tattoo convention took place in Bristol (UK) in 1950. Since then, the tattoo movement has taken a step so far that at least five local conventions are held every month around the world.