of years, an accepted traditional art of great social importance
American Tribal Cultures,
Europeans, Celts & Duids,
|FINALLY, IN THE 21ST CENTURY, GAINING MUCH
DESERVED ACCEPTANCE FROM OUR MODERN ARTISTIC AND CULTURAL
Being invited to participate as the exclusive guest artist at
the Australian Museum's 'Body Art' Exhibit for April and May of 2000
was a huge honor. A daring and ground breaking move for such a
seemingly conservative institution, the exhibit went on despite
public protest by certain fringe groups. Due to the unexpected
success of the program the museum later took the exhibit on tour
around the country!
Actually, the earliest solid evidence obtained
to date indicate that tattooing was taking place as a purposeful
process as early as 38,000 BC. Instruments that were most likely
utilized for dermagraphics during the Upper Paleolithic period have
been unearthed at several European archaelogical digs. Figures made
of stone and clay, sporting tattoo-like engravings, have been found
alongside instruments who's purpose would be a mystery, if not for
the process of tattoo. The instruments in all the sites were
startingly similar in composition and design. A disc of clay and Red
Ochre with a small hole, and sharp bone needles that moved through
the hole to pierce the skin. The bowl itself acting as a pigment
reservoir. I wonder was the slogan of the time: "We use new bones
for every tattoo!"
The Jomon Period (ca.
10,000 B.C.-300B.C.) in Asia has also presented us with solid
evidence of dermagraphic artistry. Several figurines, or 'Dogu' made
during this period exhibit markings around the mouths of the beings.
It is believed these markings represented tattoo. Due to the fact
that all the unearthed figurines exhibit female traits such as
sexual organs or breasts, or indications of pregnancy, they are
believed to be empowerments of fertility. However, for our purposes,
the interest is in the markings, did they in fact represent tattoo.
Comparrison of the Dogu markings with facial tattoo's in Pacific Rim
cultures such as Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the Polynesian triangle
leaves little doubt that the markings were in fact indicative of
tattooing. Interestingly enough our little Italian hero also
introduces evidence near halfway across the planet of tattooing
being somewhat common in Europe during this same period. Prior to
his discovery, the earliest confirmable evidence in the region came
Up until recentley, tattooing by puncture, with a
sharp tool or needle which introduces a dye under the top layer of
skin, was believed first practiced in Ancient Egypt. Archeological
discoveries yielded clay dolls and implements which substantiated
the fact. In recorded history, the earliest tattoos can be found in
Egypt during the time of the construction of the great pyramids. The
civilizations of Crete, Arabia, Persia and Greece seemed to pick up
on the fashion as the Egyptians expanded their empire. It is
believed the practice may have spread east to China at this same
The point is, tattooing has always, it seems, been
the hot world-wide fashion statement , whether its West, on Peruvian
mummies recentley excavated, or Central Europe,as with 'The Iceman',
or the East as with the Siberian 'Ice Maiden'.
From the Nova Television Series special 'The
Siberian Ice Maiden':
"Sacrificial horses guard her tomb. Gold
and silk adorn her body. For 24 centuries, she was frozen in time.
Was she a priestess? A warrior chief?"
"She was lying as if asleep. She was arranged like that
intentionally because the Pazyryk believed they never died, but
simply passed on to another world".
NARRATOR: "The blanket she
wore hid another surprise".
SMOOT:" We pulled back carefully
the clothing, and on her left arm, the right thumb, and then again
on her left shoulder are these amazing tattoos. Creatures just in
immediate action poses, and they are in fact twisted oddly at 180
degree angles. They have amazing horns that end in flowers,
fantastic creatures. At that point, the whole dig stopped and
people came down and everyone was looking, not only was this a
woman, but one with tattoos and they are quite elegant".
If I've captured your imagination, which I
hope is the case, then perhaps you'd like to continue your 'Tattoo
History Tour' with the link below:
OF BEAUTIFUL SK
IN COVERING HI STORY AND TH E
||MORE TATTOO HISTORY A
continued discussion of what little we do know from
history. Includes some very informative links
the sidebar SITE MENU? Click