The history of tattooing and its meaning in the modern world

The tattoo is more and more a form of fashion: which has a simple aesthetic value, which represents a fundamental passage in one’s life, which summarizes a message, a value to which we are rooted, today we are witnessing a real boom of “tattooed “(Just think that 7.7% of young people in Italy, between 12 and 17 years old, have at least one tattoo).

Tattoo: meaning and history of the tattoo

The term tattoo derives from the Tahitian term tau-tau , which recalls the tapping of wood on the skin, an ancient technique used by these populations. The term ” tattow ” (later tattoo) is handed down to us by James Cook , who wrote in his diaries about this custom used by the Polynesian population .

The tattoo has even more ancient origins, as evidenced by Otzi (as it was nicknamed), a prehistoric man on whom real tattoos were found, left on the skin thanks to the rubbing of coal on the skin.

If in Europe the tattoo has been strongly opposed by the Christian world, in other continents it finds a development handed down to us until today.

The origins of the tattoo: from New Zealand to Japan

In New Zealand , Maori warrior tattoos are still used today to identify a family or represent achievements in one’s life; in Japan the tattoo has very ancient origins (5th century BC): oriental tattoos , now so much loved, were actually a strong form of protest of the low-ranking populations who had been forbidden to wear kimonos, which is why they began to tattoo the body.

With Samuel O’Reilly ‘s invention of the electric machine in the 1920s , tattooing began to spread in Western culture. In the 60s and 70s it was the symbol of rebellion: it was mainly punks and bikers who tattooed their bodies.

The tattoo today

Today there are different tattoo styles from which to take inspiration:

  • Japanese tattoos , for years on the crest of the wave and with a strong symbolic meaning;
  • Chinese tattoos , like the Japanese ones, full of meaning;
  • Old School or Traditional Tattoos, which are still in fashion today;
  • Tribal tattoo, each of which has a very specific meaning, and was born precisely in the indigenous tribes;
  • Realistic tattoos, depicting real-life images;
  • Tattoo lettering , when a particular writing is tattooed;
  • Polynesian tattoos, famous all over the world and among the first people to tattoo their skin as a sign of strength, wisdom and spirituality;

In my opinion, however, it is not necessary to refer to a particular style: everyone can choose the one that is closest to their personality and their desire to express themselves!

The tattoo today is therefore no longer a taboo, on the contrary it is increasingly approaching a real form of art : there are numerous congresses, conventions all over the world dedicated to them, where tattoo artists exhibit their works. But above all there are more and more followers, or rather people who decide to imprint an indelible mark on their skin, representing their uniqueness better than a dress and an accessory.

Male tattoos

The most beautiful male tattoos , made to draw on the bodies of young and old, are many, but let’s say that our boys’ favorites are tribal tattoos and Maori tattoos, oriental tattoos, especially the Japanese, with Geishas and koi carp or even samurai tattooed on the arms and back, but also on the calves, which become the areas most tattooed by men.

Female tattoos

Feminine tattoos are obviously different from masculine ones and follow other styles: butterflies, floral styles, roses, hearts and important phrases appear, perhaps with a particular meaning.

But obviously there are women who choose aggressive tattoos , where skulls, lions and tigers appear, which testify how the woman wants to get out of the usual cliche of a sensitive person, to enter the one where the woman takes the reins of the situation. The concept of oriental and tribal tattooing is also gaining momentum among women.

The most tattooed female areas where tattoos appear with greater vigor are the shoulders, wrists, behind the ears, on the hips, up to more erogenous areas such as the lower back, but lately in many more enterprising ones they also have their legs tattooed. .

Our appointment with the world of tattoos ends here. And you: which tattoos do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!