A temporary tattoo

All about Tattoos

Don’t you feel a bit extra powerful after you get a superhero painted on you hand? Or how about a princess or a fairy inked on your arm? Cool isn’t it? All these tattoos are temporary and get washed away. Grown ups sometimes get tattoos that stay for ever. Those kinds don’t fade or get washed away.

A permanent tatoo

Tattoos have become extremely popular these days but did you know that this skin art has been practiced since ancient times. Otzi the Iceman, who lived in 3300 BC and whose mummy was found in 1991, had a total of 57 tattoos !! Some mummies discovered in Egyptian tombs have also been found to be tattooed.

But the art was especially common amongst tribals all over the world. In fact, it still is. Tribals usually hand-prick the skin to insert dyes. Ouch! That must be painful. Sometimes their whole bodies are tattooed, including their face. So why do they do it? For tribal people tattoos represent their rank or status in the tribe or their religious preferences. Sometimes tattoos are equal to medals for bravery. The Maori tribe in New Zealand has a traditional face tattoos (called Moko) which are sacred and have special meaning related to status and tribal history.

Maori tribe in New Zealand has a traditional face tattoo called Moko

These days, in cities, permanent tattoos are done with electric tattoo machine. It uses needles to put ink into the body. People choose to be tattooed in memory of someone or sometimes just for fun!! Permanent tattoos can be taken off with laser surgery, but it is painful!!

Did you know?

The word tattoo did not exist in English language. The English word “tattoo” evolved  from a Tahitian word ‘Tatau’  that referred to the act of skin painting. There are many instances where explorers, brought the concept of skin art back to their countries after having observed it with tribal people during their voyages. The word “tattaw” and the concept was brought to Europe by the explorer James Cook, when he returned in 1771 from his first voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand.

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