The earliest tattoo in recorded history can be found in Egypt around the time of the building of the great pyramids, although without a doubt tattooing was practised as long ago as 12,000 BC. The art of tattooing spread rapidly with the expansion of the Egyptian Empire, with Crete, Greece, Arabia And Persia among many civilisations to pick up and expand the art form. Around 2000 BC it spread to China and eventually most of the world.
Tattoos were popular among many ethnic minorities in ancient Chinese times, But among the ethnic majority ( The Han Chinese ),Tattoos were mostly associated with criminals, bandits and gangsters, where these undesirables would be branded with a tattoo. In many other cultures tattoos were used to visibly mark or brand criminals, convicts, slaves or outcasts, and of course the most infamous use of tattoos for identification and degradation was by the Nazis against the Jews.
Tattoos have always played an important role in ritual and tradition. For Example: Rights of passage - A ritual marking a persons progress from one status to another. Ceremonies for puberty, Coming of age, Marriages and deaths. Religious ceremonies such as baptism or confirmation. Decorations for bravery. Talismans for protection, to name but a few.
Western tattooing has it's roots in Polynesia the "Tatau" having been discovered by eighteenth century explorers. The Tatau becoming a favourite adornment of European sailors before spreading to western societies in general. In fact many seafairers became tattooed to enable identification if they were unlucky enough to drown. So, many tattooists set up shop to practice their craft at sea ports where there was no shortage of customers. Tattooists still thrive in naval ports today as sailors in the royal Navy are quite partial to tattoos.
Tattoos are also used for cosmetic purposes to hide or camouflage skin discolorations and blemishes, even to cover up old unwanted tattoos, especially (as in the case of many celebrities) after a divorce or separation where the name of the "ex" is now an embarrassment on the body!! Tattoos are even used to create permanent makeup, to line the lips or eyes, enhance the eyebrows or as a full permanent lipstick.
Since the latter part of the 20th century tattoos have experienced a rebirth in popularity. Pop culture being influential inspiring reality based TV shows covering real life tattooing practice and associated information. Tattoos as an art form started to be exhibited at art exhibitions with different artists work being shown and reviewed. Studies in 2006 revealed that 36% of Americans between the age of 18-64 had at least one tattoo. Today who knows by how much those figures will have risen.
In the west today tattoos are incredibly popular as a body art form. Gifted tattoo artists can adorn your body with any design you want. More and more tattoo parlours are popping up making it very easy to get tattooed. If you want to get tattooed but are not sure which design to go for, there is no quicker and easier way to find the design you want than to look on the internet.There are millions of illustrations for you to browse through so you'll have no trouble finding a design to suit your needs. You can browse, choose the design, save it and then print it and take it to your local tattooist, who will skillfully replicate the design on whatever part of your body you choose.
The most popular, and by far the best site on the net for tattoo designs is " Chopper Tattoo" they simply have the largest selection of award winning tattoo designs to choose from. Period. Once you become a Chopper Tattoo member you will have access to thousands of designs. When you have found your " perfect tattoo" you can click on the design, enlarge it and then print it. Chopper Tattoo also has a feature to help you find tattoo parlours near you. You can also customize any lettering in your tattoo by choosing from thousands of ideas.