A tattoo is a marking made by inserting dark, indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment for decorative or other reasons. Tattoos on humans are a type of decorative body modification, while tattoos on animals are most commonly used for identification or branding.
Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since around Neolithic times. Ötzi the Iceman, dating from the fourth to fifth millennium BC, was found in the Ötz valley in the Alps and had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. Other mummies bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the second millennium BC have been discovered, such as the Mummy of Amunet from Ancient Egypt and the mummies at Pazyryk on the Ukok Plateau.
Tattoo enthusiasts may refer to tattoos as "Ink", "Tats", "Art", "Pieces", or "Work"; and to the tattooists as "Artists". The latter usage is gaining greater support, with mainstream art galleries holding exhibitions of both conventional and custom tattoo designs.
Copyrighted tattoo designs that are mass-produced and sent to tattoo artists are known as flash, a notable instance of industrial design. Flash sheets are prominently displayed in many tattoo parlors for the purpose of providing both inspiration and ready-made tattoo images to customers [these are perhaps the " saddest " of all , sad for the customer who does not have any artistic ambition and also sad for the tattooist who is simply " painting by numbers "].
The Japanese word irezumi means "insertion of ink" and can mean tattoos using tebori, the traditional Japanese hand method, a Western-style machine, or for that matter, any method of tattooing using insertion of ink. The most common word used for traditional Japanese tattoo designs is Horimono. Japanese may use the word "tattoo" to mean non-Japanese styles of tattooing.
In Japan, tattoos are strongly associated with the yakuza, particularly full body tattoos done the traditional Japanese way (Tebori). Many public Japanese bathhouses (sentō) and gymnasiums often openly ban those bearing large or graphic tattoos in an attempt to prevent Yakuza from entering. The Government of Meiji Japan had outlawed tattoos in the 19th century, a prohibition that stood for 70 years before being repealed in 1948.
In the United States many prisoners and criminal gangs use distinctive tattoos to indicate facts about their criminal behavior, prison sentences, and organizational affiliation. A tear tattoo, for example, can be symbolic of murder, with each tear representing the death of a friend. In prisons, however, there is an elevated risk of infection. Infections that can theoretically be transmitted by the use of unsterilized tattoo equipment or contaminated ink include surface infections of the skin, herpes simplex virus, tetanus, staph, fungal infections, some forms of hepatitis, tuberculosis, and HIV.
Members of the U.S. and British military have an equally well established and longstanding history of tattooing to indicate military units, battles, kills, etc., an association which remains widespread among older Americans.
Maori tattooing would usually start at adolescence, and was used to celebrate important events throughout life. The first tattoo marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and was done during a series of rites and rituals.Needless to say, tattooing by making incisions with a chisel was a painful process, but traditional Maori tattoos were meant to be more than decorative – they were a show of strength, courage and status. Both men and women were tattooed, though women substantially less (maybe because there was less of a need for them to show courage) and on other places (usually the lips and chin). By using a moko pattern for your own tattoo design, you may be insulting the Maori people. It is never ok for a non-maori to wear a Maori tattoo pattern, even if it is done with respect.
The Celts of northern Europe have a rich history of tribal tattooing.
Tattooing was also used by the Nazi regime in concentration camps to tag prisoners.
Tattoos are usually considered forbidden in Sunni Islam. According to the book of Sunni traditions, Sahih Bukhari, "The Prophet forbade [...] mutilation (or maiming) of bodies.
Tattoos are forbidden in Judaism.
In 1980 , Cuban President Fidel Castro relaxed the stringent laws governing Mariel Harbor in Cuba, allowing thousands of Cubans, many of them former convicts, to emigrate to Miami, Florida. All were tattoo'd inside their bottom lips so they could never return to Cuba , Florida Police regularly " lip " a suspect to check if they have a tattoo or not.
Temporary tattoos are popular with models and children as they involve no permanent alteration of the skin but produce a similar appearance that can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The most common style is a type of body sticker similar to a decal, which is typically transferred to the skin using water. Although the design is waterproof, it can be removed easily with oil-based creams. Originally inserted as a prize in bubble gum packages, they consisted of a poor quality ink transfer that would easily come off with water or rubbing. Today's vegetable dye temporaries can look extremely realistic and adhere up to 3 weeks due to a layer of glue similar to that found on an adhesive bandage.
Henna tattoos (Mehndi) and silver nitrate stains that appear when exposed to ultraviolet light can take up to two weeks to fade from the skin. Temporary airbrush tattoos (TATs) are applied by covering the skin with a stencil and spraying the skin with ink. In the past, this form of tattoo only lasted about a week. With the newest inks, tattoos can reasonably last for up to two weeks.
So today , the world of celebrity is full of tattoo's ....... Footballers , Actors ....... even celebrity chefs are getting in on the act , I guess if it doesn't interfere with your ability to find work , then whats the problem ? ...... apart from the embarrassment of having someone's name plastered on your body only to find that they have been playing away from home .
The 'Tramp Stamp' or 'Slag Tag' as they are referred to nowadays [you never know what connotations something will have in the future] have become popular in mainstream female culture since the '90s , today we find that even men have started to get them [God knows what they'll be called] , once again .... they can be extremely artistic or predictively boring , either way it is a matter of individual choice but like so many things ....... it has become simply a fashion statement rather than telling the world that you are unique [like everyone else].
Today , the highest incidence of tattoos is found among the gay, lesbian and bisexual population [just so you know]