The Origins Of Tattooing

Understanding where tattooing originated from

The word tattoo originates from Tahitian known as Tatu, which implies to mark something. There is no doubt that the origin of tattooing has been debated upon in different circles of the world. There is a claim that tattooing has been in existence since 12, 000 years BC.

History has shown that the earliest form of tattoos originated from Egypt the period of construction of the great pyramids. The expansion of Egypt Empire led to the growth and great awareness of tattooing which further spread across the board. While the modernization of Persia, Arabia, Crete, and Greece picked up and modify the art of tattooing. The spread of tattooing to China was around 2000 BC. 

What Tattoo were used for by Different Groups.

The following group uses tattoo for the different purposes. Here are some of uses:

tattooing in greek times

Greek Tattoos:

Tattooing was used by the Greeks has a means of communication among spies. Marking identifies the spies and reveals their rank.

Roman Tattoos;

The Romans marked criminals and slaves. No doubt that this practice is still very much in existence today. 

Ainu in western Asia;

Tattooing also displays of social status among the people of Ainu in western Asia, that is, ladies and women who are of marriageable age were marked to announce their placement in the society. The Ainu are well respected for their introduction of tattoos into Japan. Tattoo further developed in Japan and become religious and ceremonial affairs. 


In Borneo, women were the tattooists, they create various designs to reflect their tradition and culture. The Kayan women had wonderful tattoos that resemble lacy gloves, and Dayak warriors had tattoos on their hands, this command respect for bearer status in life.

Borneo Tattoos


Polynesians developed tattoos to represent tribal communities, families, and ranks. The Polynesians brought tattooing to New Zealand. They developed Moko known as a facial type of tattoo which is very vivid in our modern society today. There is an assertion that the people of Mayan, Aztecs, and Incas used tattooing in ritual purposes. 

The Decline In The Origin Of Tattooing;

The decline in the geology of tattooing is attributed to the Christian Missionaries, who preached against the awareness of tattooing in various quarters. They tend to persuade the people of society against piercing their body. They see tattooing oneself has unholy acts that should not be entertained.

It was considered a primitive acts perpetrated by traditional communities. This assertion and persuasion led to the gradual decline of tattooing in Europe. The decline was highly motivated by Emperor Constantine by prohibiting tattooing. It was believed that the human body was made in God’s image and likeness and such should not be destroyed by tattoos. 

Present Day Origin Of Tattooing

present day tattooing

The present-day tattooing came into being in Europe in the 16th century.  A traveler like Frobisher, Sir Martin, Captain James Cook, and William Dampier, brought home different individuals from the area they visited which were tattooed in nature. In the beginning, tattooing was kept for mariners and lower classes but things have changed now due to modern day awareness, and tattoo craftsmen as turned out to be increasingly capable. Tattooing has moved toward becoming a set interest of privileged or rich individuals in society to all more larger society of individual choice. 

Tattooing turned out to be increasingly prevalent in Maori culture because of the result of European visitors. These Maori tattoos were incredibly formal in nature. The shades were made of customary substances, until the section of the Europeans, which realized current days tattooing techniques using dark powder to the hues, along these lines lessening the utilization of the common substance of the old. 

Tattooing has become less expensive as member people to participate more and more. It remained like that until the 1960s and the radical development when it gradually entered standard changing from degenerate conduct to satisfactory type of self-articulation. It turned out to be mainstream to the point that even Mattel began moving Barbie dolls with tattoos. Individuals of both genders of every financial class, and of any age wear tattoos by choice, statistics show that in 2000 over 15 percent of Americans had tattoos.

The Importance Of Tattoos

tattoos with cremation ashes

The important of tattoo in every society cannot be undermined though some people tend to abuse the standpoint of tattooing. The reason for tattooing depends on an individual belief system or their culture. The following are some of the benefits of the origin of tattooing: 

  • Serve as healing to humanity
  • It serves as a mode of communication
  • It brings about social placement
  • Identification 

Serve as healing to humanity.

One of the major importance or benefits of the origin of tattooing is that it serves as a healing method of religious people. For example, Ancient Egypt and India make use of tattoos as healing techniques. The tattoo around the fingers and wrist region of the body was believed to chase sickness away from individual wearing it. 

It serves as a mode of communication.

In Greek society, tattoo were used as a symbol of communication to different communities and clans. This helps them to identify spies and make known their ranks. The benefits of tattooing are enormous to the growth of society. 

It brings about social placement.

Also, the inception of tattooing was seen as a social representation of class, your level of skills and professions. This was seen in Western Asia, where girls of marriageable age were used as their placement in society. For instance, Women in Borneo tattooed their forearm as a symbol of their skill. 

As A Means Of Identification.

This does not need explaining.

cremation ink tattoo studio

The importance of tattooing in present-day society cannot be undermined. It has served as a means of identification and communication. Some scholars tend to criticize the entirety of tattoo. Since the origin of the tattoo, it has shown individual membership relating to a particular clan or tribe.

Also, in recent times, as an example, the Hells Angels tattoo indicates their group symbol.

Another example of the origin of the tattoo can be seen in a movie whereby people belong to a secret club with tattoo symbols as means of access or recognition.


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