This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Cultural Tattoos Essay

1500 words - 6 pages

Tattoos and Their Cultural Relevance

For as long as there have been people, there have been methods of distinction amongst them. Throughout the years we have discovered ways in which to express our beliefs, our ideals, and our passions. Tattooing has been one of forefront methods in expressing our humanity, or in certain cases, our lack there of. For so many, they have taken on many different representations, each with an equal level of significance. The importance found in the symbolism of tattoos and their cultural relevance has consistently been a trend found throughout history, religion, and art.
The ancient practice of body art commonly known today as tattoo originates from the Tahitian word “tatau”, which means, to tap the mark into the body. Although the word wasn’t coined until 1769 when Captain James Cook landed in Tahiti, tattooing can be seen as far back as five thousand years ago. In 1991 scientists came across the frozen remains of a man they came to call Otzi. Otzi was found with a series of small lines marked upon his lower back, ankles, knees, and feet. The rubbing of powdered charcoal into several vertical wounds made his markings. After extensive testing of Otzi’s remains, scientists had found that he suffered from bone degeneration at the site of his markings. This led them to believe that his tattoos were used as a method for the treatment of pain, rather than for their aesthetic appeal. The uses tattooing held for the Japanese differed beyond ancient healing practices.
The Japanese have been practicing tattooing since the 5th century B.C., although its popularity didn’t really take off until the 17th century. Unlike Otzi, the Japanese tattooed for physical beautification, and to mark criminals. In 17th century Japan it was common practice that ornate kimonos were meant only for royalty and the wealthy, which caused the neglected lower class to rebel by adorning beautifully tattooed body suits. The defiant Japanese commoners covered themselves lavishly from their necks to their elbows, and above the knees. The Japanese government looked upon this disturbance of the poor as subversive, and outlawed tattoos in 1870. This is when the symbolism of tattoos in Japanese culture shifted. They had gone from a representation of splendor, to one associated with Japanese crime. As a result, tattooists were forced to retreat into the background of Japanese society. Luckily for them, the Japanese gangster class in Japan known as the Ikuza, embraced this subculture with open arms. The elaborately designed tattoos of the Ikuza depicted above, represented character traits the wearer desired to emulate. A lion represented courage, while a carp was worn to emulate strength and perseverance. Because the designs required long periods of pain, the act itself was looked upon as a show of allegiance to the wearer’s personal beliefs.
Tattooing was also popular amongst Maori men of New Zealand, who covered their buttocks, thighs, and faces....

Find Another Essay On Cultural Tattoos

title Essay

2214 words - 9 pages tattoos out of sync with the true meaning behind them? Further explanation and exploration of the history will reveal the social and cultural practices of tattooing and the causal connection between the mind and the tattooed body, in addition to providing answers as to why tattoos stimulate uneasiness and curiosity and create a challenge to discursive practices. The term ‘tattoo’ was dubbed after James Cook’s journey to Polynesia in the 18th century

Tattoos in the Workplace Essay

1406 words - 6 pages Tattoos have been around for quite some time now, and they have always been a symbol of belonging, cultural expression or for religion. These days, individuals choose to tattoo themselves because it is part of their lifestyle or personal image. While continuing to grow in popularity and becoming a lifestyle, people are facing issues with having visible tattoos in the workforce. Although it is a form of free expression, employers have a right to

The Deviant Behavior of Tattoos

740 words - 3 pages brandished tattoos to advertise their collective discontent with society, the practice became popular among members of the social underbelly (Atkinson, 2003, p.38). This era of the 1950 to 1970 is referred to as the rebel era. During this time people used tattoos as a sign of social protest and rebellion. They demonstrated their political disdain and contempt for their cultural surroundings through body art. The 1970’s to the 1990’s is considered

The Addictive Draw to Tattoos

1727 words - 7 pages tattoo” (CITATION). In today’s society, people have a passion and desire for tattoos because of the growing popularity they have built. Tattooing has become a common trend that has no indication of diminishing anytime soon. The define meaning for the artistry that tattoos represent were once all about tradition, they always possessed a very specific meaning for the particular culture (Gritton). REREAD OUT LOUD. The traditional and cultural aspects

Tattoos and Society

1703 words - 7 pages parents. With a new coming of age generation and a step into a more lenient and liberal society these types of patrons still participate in body art but so do doctors, lawyers, or just the run of the mill house mom. Tattoos signify religious beliefs, cultural influence, or each individual’s sole style. Body art is no longer socially offensive, employers are more apt to hiring tatted hopeful applicants, parents are warming up to the idea of their

Advancements in Tattoo Technology

1202 words - 5 pages took on a more cultural role elsewhere. When the British began exploring the world, tattoos took on a new meaning. In the late eighteenth century, the name "tattoo" is traced back to a series of journeys through the Pacific made by Captain James Cook. His sailors learned of the Tahitian art of tatau, a ritual involving ink and needle, resulting in returning to England with their own tattoos. Over the years, tattoos became associated with

Discrimination in the workplace

1756 words - 8 pages Tattoos are accepted in many cultures, they date back to early Egyptian times, mummies have been found with markings to bring them into the afterlife safely. The oldest known tattoos were found on a mummified body found in the Alps in 1991. It was found to be over 5,000 years old. Throughout history, tattoos have been symbols for religion, affiliation, social status and self-expression. Nowadays, tattoos have changed. They are more for

The Effects of Body Modification

1917 words - 8 pages . Print. Ellis, Juniper. Tattooing the World: Pacific Designs in Print and Skin. Chi Chester, West Sussex: Columbia University Press, 2008. Print. Lloyd, J.D. Body Piercing and Tattoos. Farmington Hills: Szumski, 2003. Print Pitts, Victoria. The Cultural Politics of Body Modification: IN THE FLESH. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. Print.

Branded and cut

1085 words - 5 pages person's true characteristics. Melanie Philipps, the author of the article “Body Modification Is a Sign of Cultural Depravity”, described tattooed people are like thugs, low self-esteemed individuals living in a spiritually empty culture. Hate is a strong word, but it is obvious that the author has an extreme dislike towards people with tattoos and those who go under the knife for cosmetic reasons. The author later says, “ For this is a culture

Tattoos and Their Effect on the World around Them

3413 words - 14 pages caused the “social elites to distance themselves from and stigmatize the practice previously celebrated as an indicator of status and/or one's knowledge of foreign cultures” (154). Tattooing was no longer a special distinction from other cultural but now a country wide adaption of cultures, this caused those of the “elite statuses” to look down on and separate themselves from the lower class, causing the start of the stigma that tattoos are

The Art of Tattoos

1389 words - 6 pages , though, we still know very little about contemporary tattoo enthusiasts’ fascination with this body project, cultural sensibilities about the practice, or collectively shared understandings of tattoo art.” (4). Tattoos, being complex visuals of body art, have a different meaning to each individual that is deeper than what it appears, whether it be a symbol of survival, a memorial, a memory, or a result of a drunken stupor; however, not all

Similar Essays

History And Cultural Diffusion Of Tattoos In America

1395 words - 6 pages Tattoos have been utilized in various ways for thousands of years, ranging from punishment, to status symbols and indications of religious beliefs. They have served as the ultimate illustration of cultural diffusion in America, and despite generally carrying a negative social stigma, perception of tattoos has continued to evolve into a more acceptable practice. The topic of tattoos in America can most effectively be summarized into two pivotal

Tattoos In The Work Place Essay

974 words - 4 pages Tattoos in the work place Today in America there is less problems having tattoos in the work place. As tattoos proliferate, some employers’ are becoming more accepting of body ink peeking through work place attire but the level of acceptance varies depending the industry and the corporate cultural. The work force is more interested in your educational skills and skills for the job. Tattoo

Tattoos And Piercings Essay

953 words - 4 pages and cultural tradition, addiction, and sometimes, for no reason at all. Although about 14% of our nation has at least one tattoo, a survey says that people who forgo religion, drink, do drugs, or have been in jail are more likely to have them. To have a tattoo professionally done is quite expensive, and a luxuriant amount of people say its very addictive. Americans spend about $1.65 billion dollars a year on tattoos. Like almost everything

Comm Research Report

1509 words - 6 pages this conceptualization of Tattoos is essentially more socially acceptable in our society today. It is important to consider and respect most of these personal and cultural contexts, as misinterpretations and difference in perspectives may lead to the particular individuals in feeling offended by this prospect, or distinguishing themselves as disapproved or objected by society.I have constructed two research questions, in order to specify my