What Does Tattoo Symbolize?
The tattooed right hand of a Chiribaya mummy is displayed at El Algarrobal Museum, near the port of Ilo in southern Peru. The Chiribaya were farmers who lived from A. 900 to 1350. Joann Fletcher Humans have marked their bodies with tattoos for thousands of years. These permanent designs—sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment.
Joann Fletcher, research fellow in the department of archaeology at the University of York in Britain, describes the history of tattoos and their cultural significance to people around the world, from the famous ” Iceman,” a 5,200-year-old frozen mummy, to today’s Maori.
What is the earliest evidence of tattoos? In terms of tattoos on actual bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian and were present on several female mummies dated to c. 2000 B. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed back a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old.
- Can you describe the tattoos on the Iceman and their significance? Following discussions with my colleague Professor Don Brothwell of the University of York, one of the specialists who examined him, the distribution of the tattooed dots and small crosses on his lower spine and right knee and ankle joints correspond to areas of strain-induced degeneration, with the suggestion that they may have been applied to alleviate joint pain and were therefore essentially therapeutic;
This would also explain their somewhat ‘random’ distribution in areas of the body which would not have been that easy to display had they been applied as a form of status marker. What is the evidence that ancient Egyptians had tattoos? There’s certainly evidence that women had tattoos on their bodies and limbs from figurines c.
4000-3500 B. to occasional female figures represented in tomb scenes c. 1200 B. and in figurine form c. 1300 B. , all with tattoos on their thighs. Also small bronze implements identified as tattooing tools were discovered at the town site of Gurob in northern Egypt and dated to c.
1450 B. And then, of course, there are the mummies with tattoos, from the three women already mentioned and dated to c. 2000 B. to several later examples of female mummies with these forms of permanent marks found in Greco-Roman burials at Akhmim. What function did these tattoos serve? Who got them and why? Because this seemed to be an exclusively female practice in ancient Egypt, mummies found with tattoos were usually dismissed by the (male) excavators who seemed to assume the women were of “dubious status,” described in some cases as “dancing girls.
- ” The female mummies had nevertheless been buried at Deir el-Bahari (opposite modern Luxor) in an area associated with royal and elite burials, and we know that at least one of the women described as “probably a royal concubine” was actually a high-status priestess named Amunet, as revealed by her funerary inscriptions;
And although it has long been assumed that such tattoos were the mark of prostitutes or were meant to protect the women against sexually transmitted diseases, I personally believe that the tattooing of ancient Egyptian women had a therapeutic role and functioned as a permanent form of amulet during the very difficult time of pregnancy and birth.
This is supported by the pattern of distribution, largely around the abdomen, on top of the thighs and the breasts, and would also explain the specific types of designs, in particular the net-like distribution of dots applied over the abdomen.
During pregnancy, this specific pattern would expand in a protective fashion in the same way bead nets were placed over wrapped mummies to protect them and “keep everything in. ” The placing of small figures of the household deity Bes at the tops of their thighs would again suggest the use of tattoos as a means of safeguarding the actual birth, since Bes was the protector of women in labor, and his position at the tops of the thighs a suitable location.
This would ultimately explain tattoos as a purely female custom. Who made the tattoos? Although we have no explicit written evidence in the case of ancient Egypt, it may well be that the older women of a community would create the tattoos for the younger women, as happened in 19th-century Egypt and happens in some parts of the world today.
What instruments did they use? It is possible that an implement best described as a sharp point set in a wooden handle, dated to c. 3000 B. and discovered by archaeologist W. Petrie at the site of Abydos may have been used to create tattoos. Petrie also found the aforementioned set of small bronze instruments c.
- 1450 B;
- —resembling wide, flattened needles—at the ancient town site of Gurob;
- If tied together in a bunch, they would provide repeated patterns of multiple dots;
- These instruments are also remarkably similar to much later tattooing implements used in 19th-century Egypt;
The English writer William Lane (1801-1876) observed, “the operation is performed with several needles (generally seven) tied together: with these the skin is pricked in a desired pattern: some smoke black (of wood or oil), mixed with milk from the breast of a woman, is then rubbed in.
It is generally performed at the age of about 5 or 6 years, and by gipsy-women. ” What did these tattoos look like? Most examples on mummies are largely dotted patterns of lines and diamond patterns, while figurines sometimes feature more naturalistic images.
The tattoos occasionally found in tomb scenes and on small female figurines which form part of cosmetic items also have small figures of the dwarf god Bes on the thigh area. What were they made of? How many colors were used? Usually a dark or black pigment such as soot was introduced into the pricked skin. / This mummified head of a woman from the pre-Inca Chiribaya culture, located at the Azapa Museum in Arica, Chile, is adorned with facial tattoos on her lower left cheek. Joann Fletcher / The tattooed right hand of a Chiribaya mummy is displayed at El Algarrobal Museum, near the port of Ilo in southern Peru. The Chiribaya were farmers who lived from A. 900 to 1350. Joann Fletcher / A tattooed predynastic female figurine (c. 4000-3500 B. ) is displayed at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford. Joann Fletcher / The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is home to this tattooed predynastic female figure. Joann Fletcher / This female figurine from Naszca, Peru, is now displayed at the Regional Museum of Ica. Joann Fletcher / Small bronze tattooing implements (c. 1450 B. ) from Gurob, Egypt, can be found at the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology in London. Joann Fletcher / This blue bowl (c. 1300 B. ), housed in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, Amsterdam, features a musician tattooed with an image of the household deity Bes on her thigh. Joann Fletcher What has surprised you the most about ancient Egyptian tattooing? That it appears to have been restricted to women during the purely dynastic period, i.
It seems that brighter colors were largely used in other ancient cultures, such as the Inuit who are believed to have used a yellow color along with the more usual darker pigments. pre-332 B. Also the way in which some of the designs can be seen to be very well placed, once it is accepted they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth.
Can you describe the tattoos used in other ancient cultures and how they differ? Among the numerous ancient cultures who appear to have used tattooing as a permanent form of body adornment, the Nubians to the south of Egypt are known to have used tattoos.
The mummified remains of women of the indigenous C-group culture found in cemeteries near Kubban c. 2000-15000 B. were found to have blue tattoos, which in at least one case featured the same arrangement of dots across the abdomen noted on the aforementioned female mummies from Deir el-Bahari.
The ancient Egyptians also represented the male leaders of the Libyan neighbors c. 1300-1100 B. with clear, rather geometrical tattoo marks on their arms and legs and portrayed them in Egyptian tomb, temple and palace scenes. The Scythian Pazyryk of the Altai Mountain region were another ancient culture which employed tattoos.
- In 1948, the 2,400 year old body of a Scythian male was discovered preserved in ice in Siberia, his limbs and torso covered in ornate tattoos of mythical animals;
- Then, in 1993, a woman with tattoos, again of mythical creatures on her shoulders, wrists and thumb and of similar date, was found in a tomb in Altai;
The practice is also confirmed by the Greek writer Herodotus c. 450 B. , who stated that amongst the Scythians and Thracians “tattoos were a mark of nobility, and not to have them was testimony of low birth. ” Accounts of the ancient Britons likewise suggest they too were tattooed as a mark of high status, and with “divers shapes of beasts” tattooed on their bodies, the Romans named one northern tribe “Picti,” literally “the painted people.
- ” Yet amongst the Greeks and Romans, the use of tattoos or “stigmata” as they were then called, seems to have been largely used as a means to mark someone as “belonging” either to a religious sect or to an owner in the case of slaves or even as a punitive measure to mark them as criminals;
It is therefore quite intriguing that during Ptolemaic times when a dynasty of Macedonian Greek monarchs ruled Egypt, the pharaoh himself, Ptolemy IV (221-205 B. ), was said to have been tattooed with ivy leaves to symbolize his devotion to Dionysus, Greek god of wine and the patron deity of the royal house at that time.
The fashion was also adopted by Roman soldiers and spread across the Roman Empire until the emergence of Christianity, when tattoos were felt to “disfigure that made in God’s image” and so were banned by the Emperor Constantine (A.
306-373). We have also examined tattoos on mummified remains of some of the ancient pre-Columbian cultures of Peru and Chile, which often replicate the same highly ornate images of stylized animals and a wide variety of symbols found in their textile and pottery designs.
One stunning female figurine of the Naszca culture has what appears to be a huge tattoo right around her lower torso, stretching across her abdomen and extending down to her genitalia and, presumably, once again alluding to the regions associated with birth.
Then on the mummified remains which have survived, the tattoos were noted on torsos, limbs, hands, the fingers and thumbs, and sometimes facial tattooing was practiced. With extensive facial and body tattooing used among Native Americans, such as the Cree, the mummified bodies of a group of six Greenland Inuit women c.
- 1475 also revealed evidence for facial tattooing;
- Infrared examination revealed that five of the women had been tattooed in a line extending over the eyebrows, along the cheeks and in some cases with a series of lines on the chin;
Another tattooed female mummy, dated 1,000 years earlier, was also found on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, her tattoos of dots, lines and hearts confined to the arms and hands. Evidence for tattooing is also found amongst some of the ancient mummies found in China’s Taklamakan Desert c.
1200 B. , although during the later Han Dynasty (202 B. -A. 220), it seems that only criminals were tattooed. Japanese men began adorning their bodies with elaborate tattoos in the late A. 3rd century. The elaborate tattoos of the Polynesian cultures are thought to have developed over millennia, featuring highly elaborate geometric designs, which in many cases can cover the whole body.
Following James Cook’s British expedition to Tahiti in 1769, the islanders’ term “tatatau” or “tattau,” meaning to hit or strike, gave the west our modern term “tattoo. ” The marks then became fashionable among Europeans, particularly so in the case of men such as sailors and coal-miners, with both professions which carried serious risks and presumably explaining the almost amulet-like use of anchors or miner’s lamp tattoos on the men’s forearms.
- What about modern tattoos outside of the western world? Modern Japanese tattoos are real works of art, with many modern practioners, while the highly skilled tattooists of Samoa continue to create their art as it was carried out in ancient times, prior to the invention of modern tattooing equipment;
Various cultures throughout Africa also employ tattoos, including the fine dots on the faces of Berber women in Algeria, the elaborate facial tattoos of Wodabe men in Niger and the small crosses on the inner forearms which mark Egypt’s Christian Copts.
- What do Maori facial designs represent? In the Maori culture of New Zealand, the head was considered the most important part of the body, with the face embellished by incredibly elaborate tattoos or ‘moko,’ which were regarded as marks of high status;
Each tattoo design was unique to that individual and since it conveyed specific information about their status, rank, ancestry and abilities, it has accurately been described as a form of id card or passport, a kind of aesthetic bar code for the face.
After sharp bone chisels were used to cut the designs into the skin, a soot-based pigment would be tapped into the open wounds, which then healed over to seal in the design. With the tattoos of warriors given at various stages in their lives as a kind of rite of passage, the decorations were regarded as enhancing their features and making them more attractive to the opposite sex.
Although Maori women were also tattooed on their faces, the markings tended to be concentrated around the nose and lips. Although Christian missionaries tried to stop the procedure, the women maintained that tattoos around their mouths and chins prevented the skin becoming wrinkled and kept them young; the practice was apparently continued as recently as the 1970s.
Why do you think so many cultures have marked the human body and did their practices influence one another? In many cases, it seems to have sprung up independently as a permanent way to place protective or therapeutic symbols upon the body, then as a means of marking people out into appropriate social, political or religious groups, or simply as a form of self-expression or fashion statement.
Yet, as in so many other areas of adornment, there was of course cross-cultural influences, such as those which existed between the Egyptians and Nubians, the Thracians and Greeks and the many cultures encountered by Roman soldiers during the expansion of the Roman Empire in the final centuries B.
- 1 What is the symbolism of tattoo?
- 2 Why are tattoos meaningful?
- 3 What culture started tattoos?
- 4 Are tattooed people smarter?
- 5 What tattoos are lucky?
- 6 Why is it called tattoo?
- 7 What are the 5 major types of tattoos?
- 8 What does life tattoo mean?
What is the symbolism of tattoo?
By Max Belkin, Ph. Tattoos blossom at the crossroads of bodies and art, the physical and the imaginary. Their colors, shapes, and symbols pulsate with memories, meanings, and emotions. Above all, body art captures and reveals unspoken aspects of human relationships, both past and present.
“My body is a memorial,” says Amalia, a Peruvian-born woman in her mid-30s. “I have a tattoo for every loved one who died. At the same time, I am still not sure what to make of this one. ” She removes her sock and shows me “?!” tattooed on the back of her ankle.
While she is showing me her tattoo, I am thinking to myself, “She is revealing her Achilles heel to me. ” Tattoos often represent thoughts and feelings that we have not spoken about or acknowledged, even to ourselves. As Amalia puts it: “I had this image in my head, but I could not express it in words.
- ” Since both art and dreams trade in symbols and imagination , I approach tattoos the same way I work with patients’ dreams and fantasies;
- I ask people to describe the thoughts, experiences, and emotions linked to their tattoos; I invite them to reflect on their past and present relationships with others and with themselves;
For example, Amalia’s first tattoo of three intertwined roses represents her close-knit family: her mother, her sister, and herself. Amalia’s mother was cremated, and her ashes scattered over the ocean; there is no graveside to visit. So this tattoo has become a celebration of her mother’s life, a way of saying “thank you” to her, and a visceral, corporeal connection to her.
The tattoo that symbolizes Amalia’s mother, sister, and herself allows Amalia to incorporate (in Latin, corpus means “body”) her mother into herself. It captures and preserves the memory of her mother’s love, along with the emotional bond between them.
As it is often the case with body art, exploring Amalia’s thoughts and feelings surrounding the tattoo illuminates the emotional complexity of her relationship with her mother. Amalia describes her mother as a controlling woman who believed that only “goths and punks” tattoo their bodies.
- She would not have approved of Amalia’s tattoo, so Amalia kept it out of other people’s sight by putting it on her stomach;
- My empathy and curiosity allow Amelia to tap into, articulate, the tension between her positive and negative feelings toward her mother;
Helping Amalia access her negative emotions toward her dead mother is not easy. It unleashes shame , guilt , and anxiety. I ask her to describe her experience of designing her tattoo and invite her to ponder its aesthetic appeal and symbolic meaning. I say to Amalia, “Imagine that you and I are in the tattoo parlor together.
- Could you please describe to me the image that you have in mind? What emotions is it bringing up for you? What is it like to make it part of yourself?” Although tattoos are permanent, their meanings evolve;
As Amalia continues to grow and change, her perception of her tattoos evolve as well. My job is to rekindle her imagination and curiosity, to explore the emotional and thematic links between her tattoos. While discussing the experiences that gave birth to her tattoos, Amalia begins to connect the meaning of her first tattoo (the three roses that express the closeness between her, her mother, and her sister) to her “?!” tattoo.
- It turns out that Amalia got “?!” tattooed above her Achilles heel several months after the break up of her marriage;
- It is not a coincidence that Amalia got that tattoo on Christmas Day as it happens to be the anniversary of her mother’s death, a time she was feeling particularly vulnerable;
In Amalia’s words, “It was the time when I felt lost and confused. I hate not knowing. I had no goal, no partner, and no path. ” Sharing the emotional significance of her tattoos with me allows Amalia to link the pain of losing her mother to the sadness around the break-up of her marriage, to reflect on the importance of her friendships, and to acknowledge her personal growth.
- In the course of our exploration Amalia looks at me and says, “I appreciate people in my life more;
- It helps tolerate the uncertainty; it helps me appreciate life a bit more;
- ” In the context of our growing relationship, Amalia and I closely examine the experiences captured in her tattooed images and articulate their emotional underpinnings;
By sharing her grief about her deceased mother and her lost marriage, Amalia opens herself and offers me her trust. I tell her that I am honored to be her partner in this difficult search for a new path. Max Belkin, Ph. , is a relational psychoanalyst and psychologist.
What does a tattoo say about you?
Everything About Your Tattoo Says Something – A tattoo is like a snapshot of an idea, feeling, or memory that you want to carry with you forever. It’s visual proof that something—or someone—really happened. Whether you get the tattoo because you’re afraid you might forget or because you know you never will, your tattoo is full of meaning.
- It just speaks to you;
- And it might “speak” to anyone who sees it, too;
- Like it or not, a tattoo does “say” something about its wearer;
- Like any choice of clothing or hairstyle, if it’s on you and it’s visible, it is something people will read into;
Even if it doesn’t involve text, its placement, size, color, style, and the image itself will all convey various ideas and impressions to anyone who looks at your tattoo. Interpreting and reading between the lines is just human nature. Still, there are some old-fashioned ideas and impressions about tattoos and tattooed people that are no longer valid.
- Although some stigmas still exist, especially against tattooed women , perceptions about tattoos have eased dramatically in the last 20 years;
- Recent studies and statistics show dramatic shifts in perceptions;
Below, you’ll find out what a tattoo really says about a person.
Why are tattoos meaningful?
Tattoos can have deep meaning, a permanent reminder of something powerful in life or an experience that cannot and should not be forgotten. Many times, tattoos can give people a feeling of empowerment, a design that inspires and reminds them of something they have overcome.
What was the original meaning of tattoos?
Wrapping Up – The word “tattoo” is relatively new compared with the actual practice of tattooing. Although in modern times, it’s an instantly recognizable word for a uniquely personal and intimate form of art. Whether they’re worn as a means of creative expression, a symbol of faith or a reminder of lost loved ones, tattoos carry whatever meaning or symbolism we give them.
Do tattoos have energy?
Tattoos: Open portals into your energy field Now that getting inked is more mainstream, there needs to be awareness as to how tattoos link into your subtle body energy field. Your tattoo is going to connect you with something permanently, so being mindful as to why you want to be inked should be the first decision you make before getting a tattoo.
Your intentions should be set beyond the watermark of vanity, and you should consider art that will enhance your frequency, and fit into the framework of your beliefs. Sometimes a tattoo represents a certain milestone in your life, or it may serve as a reminder of something you have accomplished, so ask yourself if you want your tattoos to serve as a body map showing your stops along the way.
A lot of people choose images that represent their profession, group affiliations, and names of lovers. Some people identify with their animal totem and choose an image that transfers the power of that animal onto their body and into their energy field.
- Whatever you choose, the intention behind your choice will influence your consciousness in either raucous, or illusive ways;
- Intentions are such a powerful tool and where we put our focus is where we create our experienced reality;
I know a group of women who wanted to get tattoos of ribbons to support cancer. One of the women in the group didn’t want the tattoo because she felt that it would be too much focus on the illness and she feared co-creating it in her own body. Your beliefs are what initially charge the tattoo.
- Sometimes tattoos can shift your energy field into a higher vibration and make you feel better about yourself, for instance, if you want to camouflage a scar so you won’t feel self-conscious;
- Intentionally looking for an invigorating image might lead you to choose a mandala tattoo inked with blue and green hues to promote energy for healing, whereas tattoo art featuring sharp teeth, or something macabre, may feed the fear embodied in the scar and produce a frequency that incites the area instead of muting it;
Always be cognizant of the colors which in themselves are expressed energy frequencies. Sometimes you will be drawn to colors that resonate with your aura, or be attracted to colors that your energy field needs for enrichment. Tattoos take on the vibrations from your intention, image, and also the colors you choose for ink.
Looking at tattoos through the metaphysical lens, the desires, and intentions, behind getting body art are triggered by deep cellular memory. Tattoos give us a window into the soul and the images we are drawn to may be links into the subconscious, dreams, or past life incarnations, especially the tribal and face tattoos.
On a deep level we are drawn to art that represents who we are, or we want images to give us what we feel we lack, and use the tattoo as an enhancement for our own energy. Intention is the moving force behind the vibration of your tattoo and the emotion behind it will always lend a massive amount of power to its effect.
Meditation is a good way to get clear on what you want, and set the intention behind getting tattooed. I’m not suggesting that you Zen out (although that is a good idea) but take the time to strongly imagine the tattoo energy on your skin.
Burn incense, sage your space, creatively doodle pictures, and look at images to see what strongly resonates to you. Ask yourself what the tattoo will represent to you? Do you see it as a personal expression, or are you getting it just because other people will think it is cool? Does it embody an archetype with whom you strongly identify, or are you exposing your shadow.
Big question-How will your tattoo personally empower you? Don’t kid yourself about tats because they have a way of attracting energy toward you. The metals in the ink give the tattoo permanence but in an esoteric sense, these same metals magnetize the design leaving it a charged body talisman.
Your body is your sacred space, and where you put your tattoo is where you are putting your desires and holding energy points that give off a unique frequency. This is why your intention has to be clear or you will be anchoring nebulous energy into your body, mind, and spirit.
See your intention as the beginning point of the tattoo ritual. Yes, I did say ritual, because there is a process to mindfully getting a tattoo. Carefully determine what design you want inked because creating art, in the mystical sense, has manifesting abilities.
Imagery starts with what you see through the mind’s eye that directly links into your consciousness. There is a bit of creative visualization in designing your tattoo and it will carry the meaning you put into it. The law of attraction also works for tattoos, because what you intently set into motion will attract the same thing back to you.
Tattoos go beyond skin deep-they go soul deep, and are very revealing. Tattoos are energy hot spots because the ritual of wounding the skin and drawing blood releases intense energy that becomes part of the tattoo.
Keep these points in mind as you contemplate getting inked. · intention · desire · purpose · permanency · portal Once you decide to get a tattoo, choosing the artist and the shop is more important than you may realize.
- Aside from looking at the quality of their work, the artist’s energy essence will also be part of your tattoo;
- Getting inked is a very intimate experience;
- It is a spiritual vehicle for transmitting energy, because an invisible cord attaches the tattooist’s energy into yours;
In a sense, tattooing is a magic ritual that creates images, draws blood, which is our life force, and also creates a symbolic bond between you and the artist. There are many tattooists who honor getting inked and see it as a form of spiritual therapy that helps you express yourself in a creative way.
Some shops really get into creating the perfect atmosphere for getting tattooed and they burn incense, and sage, to keep away negative energy. Your tattoo artist is, in a sense, a quasi-Shaman performing a ritual and some tattooist help you choose a design, as well as the location of your tattoo, based on your aura in order to enhance positive energy for you.
Keep in mind that from the metaphysical perspective, tattoos are an energy portal into your subtle body, and starting out with unacceptable conditions can mark you with a negatively charged tattoo that can cause a disturbance in your energy field. Your tattooist will be imbuing their energy into your subtle body so be cognoscente of what you are sensing from them.
Don’t insist on a design that they are not comfortable inking onto your skin. Do you really want that energy tagged into your tattoo? Once you finally decide to take the plunge, you should also carefully choose where you go to get your tattoo.
You may be somewhat prepared for a little pain or possibly a design that doesn’t turn out exactly as you had envisioned, but you most likely didn’t give too much thought to the safety of your energy field. You not only absorb the energy of the tattooist, but also the parlor, that is a harbor for residual energy left behind from other people getting inked.
Their excitement, fears, and desires, are all components of highly charged energy, so much so, that you can almost hear the walls talk. Emotional energy is very transmissible and you can unknowingly take it into your subtle body.
I wonder how many of us with tattoos are aware of the modern day alchemy inked onto and into our skin. The underbelly of the art is pure mysticism. It all starts with our original intention which readies the skin canvass for getting tattooed. Namaste! For more information on opening up your unique energy field and extrasensory senses read The Book of Transformation:Open Yourself to Psychic Evolution, the Rebirth of the World, and the Empowering Shift Pioneered by the Indigos https://newpagebooks.
What culture started tattoos?
Early and ethnographic tattoos – The earliest evidence of tattoo art comes in the form of clay figurines that had their faces painted or engraved to represent tattoo marks. The oldest figures of this kind have been recovered from tombs in Japan dating to 5000 BCE or older.
In terms of actual tattoos, the oldest known human to have tattoos preserved upon his mummified skin is a Bronze-Age man from around 3300 BCE. Found in a glacier of the Otztal Alps, near the border between Austria and Italy, ‘Otzi the Iceman’ had 57 tattoos.
Many were located on or near acupuncture points coinciding with the modern points that would be used to treat symptoms of diseases that he seems to have suffered from, including arthritis. Some scientists believe that these tattoos indicate an early type of acupuncture.
Although it is not known how Otzi’s tattoos were made, they seem to be made of soot. Other early examples of tattoos can be traced back to the Middle Kingdom period of ancient Egypt. Several mummies exhibiting tattoos have been recovered that date to around that time (2160–1994 BCE).
In early Greek and Roman times (eighth to sixth century BCE) tattooing was associated with barbarians. The Greeks learned tattooing from the Persians, and used it to mark slaves and criminals so they could be identified if they tried to escape. The Romans in turn adopted this practice from the Greeks.
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Elaborately-tattooed mummies have been found in Pazyryk tombs (sixth to second century BCE). The Pazyryks were formidable Iron-Age horsemen and warriors who lived on the grass plains of Eastern Europe and Western Asia..
What type of personality gets tattoos?
Author: Sophia Carter – Institution: Whitworth University ABSTRACT Research supports personality differences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals. However, few studies have investigated whether any of these differences are associated with positive indicators for tattooed individuals.
In this study, personality differences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals in three of the Big Five personality areas considered critical to successful employees in the workforce were examined.
Previous research has established that higher levels of conscientiousness and extraversion coupled with lower levels of neuroticism are indicators of high-quality employees. The present study attempts to augment this line of research by adding the dimension of tattoos; investigating whether individuals with tattoos report more positive personality indicators in these dimensions than individuals without tattoos.
- Thus it was hypothesized that tattooed individuals would report higher levels of conscientiousness and extraversion and lower levels of neuroticism than non-tattooed individuals;
- For this purpose, N = 521 individuals completed an online survey, which included the 44-Question Big Five Inventory;
An independent sample t -test revealed a statistically significant difference between tattooed ( M = 3. 41, SD = 0. 77) and non-tattooed ( M = 3. 21, SD = 0. 83) groups in the Big Five personality area of extraversion, t (521) = 0. 39, p =. 004, d = 0.
- There were no other statistically significant differences;
- These findings indicate that tattooed individuals may be better employees than previously believed, as the extraversion component of the Big Five Inventory, has been found to be a critical indicator of successful job performance;
INTRODUCTION Tattoos have increased in popularity over the last two decades; almost one in five people across all age groups had a tattoo as of 2012, and one in ten people have two or more tattoos (Swami et al. , 2012). Nearly 40% of young adults (18-25) have at least one tattoo, whereas only 15-16% of members of this age group in 1990 were tattooed (Swami et al.
, 2012). Despite the increase in tattoos within younger generations, tattooed individuals face discrimination, negative stigma, and lower levels of employment than their non-tattooed counterparts (Horne, Knox, Zusman, & Zusman, 2007).
Very little research has examined whether individuals with tattoos score differently than non-tattooed individuals on scales measuring personality traits perceived as positive. This study seeks to address this gap by identifying personality differences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals and the potential implications of those differences for employment.
Historically, the traits associated with tattooed individuals have depended significantly on the culture and circumstances of those individuals. Captain Cook explored Polynesia in 1769 and observed the social and spiritual significance of tattoos in Polynesian culture.
The location of a tattoo on an individual’s body and the specific tattoo design displayed social, hierarchal, and genealogical information about the owner of the tattoo, as well as signaling particular aspects of his or her character (Parry, 1933). Tattooing was considered a sacred ceremony, and most tattoos were thought to fetch spiritual power, protection, and strength.
- Almost every Polynesian individual had tattoos, and many of Captain Cook’s men left their voyage with a permanent memento of their expedition, which was considered a great honor (Parry, 1933);
- Similarly, Native Americans report a long and extensive history of traditional tattoos;
Depending on the tribe, tattoos could signal hierarchy or a specific role within the tribe, mark a warrior’s prowess in battle, or be considered marks of beauty (Littell, 2003). Since then, through the shift towards Western culture and through changing definitions of art, tattoos have become more associated with criminals and the sexually promiscuous (Wohlrab, Fink, & Kappeler, 2005).
Recent studies have shown there are still many stereotypes attached to individuals with tattoos: academic struggle, broken homes, traumatic childhoods, rarely or never attending church, poor decision-making skills, and susceptibility to peer pressure (Roberts & Ryan, 2002).
However, these stereotypes may not accurately represent the current tattoo climate. Forty percent of 26 to 40-year-olds now have a tattoo, closely followed by 36% of 18 to 25-year-olds (Swami et al. , 2012). The rising popularity of tattoos among young to middle aged individuals suggests that tattoos may hold different significance sociologically, biologically, and socially than they have throughout the previous century (Wohlrab et al.
, 2005). Research is mixed on whether the negative stereotypes associated with tattoos are accurate. A study completed in 2007 in Germany evaluating tattooed and non-tattooed individuals using a Big Five Personality Inventory found that tattooed individuals scored higher on the subscale of extraversion, and lower on the subscale of neuroticism (Wohlrab, 2007).
More recently, a 2012 study of 540 individuals from Austria and Germany examined Big Five personality traits in participants, as well as a need for uniqueness, sensation seeking, self-esteem, religious and spiritual belief, and demographic variables. The researchers in this study concluded that not only do those with tattoos have higher levels of need for uniqueness, sensation seeking, and thrill and adventure seeking, but they have lower levels of self-esteem, attend religious services less, and are generally much less educated than individuals who did not have tattoos (Swami et al.
, 2012). For decades, businesses have attempted to identify personality traits that predict a successful employee. When United States federal law banned the use of polygraphs for employee selection in 1988, hirers began using personality surveys as the primary method for making hiring decisions (Stabile, 2013).
Job interviewers now ask questions designed to reveal components of an individual’s personality in order to evaluate where that individual would best fit within the company structure, how committed to the job the individual would be, and their likelihood of advancing through the company ranks (Wohlrab, 2007).
- However, studies as late as 2010 have shown that despite this shift to personality-based hiring, companies still discard potential employees on the basis of their tattoos (Burgess, & Clark 2010);
- Researchers have also attempted to determine personality traits capable of predicting successful employees;
A 2014 ten-year longitudinal study of over 8,000 individuals working within multiple big business companies revealed that there is a significant statistical difference between the managerial and working classes in three Big Five personality dimensions: neuroticism, extraversion, and conscientiousness (Palaiou & Furnham, 2014).
- Conscientiousness was shown to be the best predictor of overall successful job performance and individuals who scored higher in this dimension tended to be more achievement oriented (Li, Barrick, Zimmerman, & Chiabaru, 2014);
Neuroticism successfully predicted poor work performance; the lower the levels of neuroticism, the higher the level of performance from the employee (Barrick, Mount, & Judge, 2001). Finally, higher levels of extraversion were linked to higher levels of task performance and proactivity (Pearsall & Ellis, 2006).
- This study attempts to augment the area of research pertaining to tattooed individuals’ personality traits by investigating whether tattooed individuals differ significantly when compared to their non-tattooed peers in areas related to successful employee traits;
It was hypothesized that tattooed individuals would score higher in conscientiousness and extraversion and lower in neuroticism as measured by the Big Five Inventory. MATERIALS AND METHODS Participants Participants were recruited through a campus-wide e-mail at Whitworth University, Facebook psychology groups, and global online psychology research forums.
- Participation was entirely voluntary, and participants could complete the study on their own time at their own pace;
- 521 individuals completed the survey, 411 females and 110 males, aged from 18 to 62 years old;
Materials Participants completed an online version of the 44-Question Big Five Inventory (John, Donahue, & Kentle, 1991) followed by basic demographic questions addressing age, sex, education level, and university affiliation of the participant. Participants were also asked if they had any tattoos.
Participants with tattoos were asked to indicate the size and location of those tattoos. The survey measured the Big Five areas of personality: openness to experience, neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness.
For example, questions measuring conscientiousness asked the participant to rate statements such as: “I am someone who does a thorough job” or “I am a reliable worker” on a five-point Likert scale. Items measuring neuroticism stated, “I am someone who remains calm in tense situations” and “I am someone who is emotionally stable, not easily upset”.
Finally, items related to extraversion included statements such as “I am someone who is talkative” and “I am someone who is full of energy” (John et al. , 1991). Participants were asked to rate their agreement with a series of such statements on a five-point Likert on a scale of one (“strongly disagreeing”) to five (“strongly agreeing”).
The Big Five Inventory has scored between 0. 73 – 0. 82 on Cronbach’s alpha test over the course of its development, giving it a high degree of internal consistency and thus, reliability (Schmitt et al. , 2007). The survey contained nine questions regarding conscientiousness, eight questions regarding neuroticism, and eight questions regarding extraversion.
- The three personality subscales of conscientiousness, extraversion, and neuroticism were scored using a formula that calculated a numerical value for each personality dimension by adding each individual’s selected scores on the Likert scale, which were then averaged between all participants for an overall mean;
RESULTS A total of N =521 individuals completed the survey. Of that 521, 411 were female and 110 were male. Participant age varied from 18 to 68 years old. Participants were current students or alumni from 54 universities of various sizes in both rural and urban locations throughout the United States.
- Two hundred sixty-six (51%) identified themselves as having no tattoos and two hundred fifty-five (49%) identified themselves as having tattoos;
- A two-tailed independent sample t -test revealed no statistically significant difference in levels of conscientiousness between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals ( p =;
30; Figure 1). Like conscientiousness, a two-tailed independent sample t-test revealed no statistically significance difference on the neuroticism personality scale between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals ( p =. 53; Figure 1). Results revealed a statistically significant result regarding extraversion.
A two-tailed independent sample t-test revealed a statistically significance difference between tattooed individuals ( M = 3. 41, SD = 0. 77) and non-tattooed individuals ( M = 3. 21, SD = 0. 83, p =.
004; Figure 1). DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to investigate whether there were positive traits associated with individuals who have tattoos. It was proposed that tattooed individuals would score higher on the conscientiousness and extraversion domains and lower on the neuroticism domain as measured by the Big Five Inventory than their non-tattooed peers.
Tattooed individuals scored significantly higher in extraversion than their non-tattooed peers, but there were no significant differences in conscientiousness or neuroticism between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals.
Though tattooed individuals did not differ significantly in two of the three areas tested in this study, the significant difference in extraversion suggests that those individuals with one or more tattoos may display higher levels of task performance and proactivity in the business world (Pearsall & Ellis, 2006).
A growing body of literature suggests tattooed individuals display different personality traits than their non-tattooed counterparts, and this study lends further support to this hypothesis. Specifically, the present study supports the findings from several other studies that tattooed individuals consistently score higher in extraversion than their non-tattooed peers (e.
, Stirn, Hinz, & Brahler, 2006; Swami, 2012; Swami et al. , 2012 Wohlrab, Stahl, Rammsayer, & Kappeler, 2007). This study may be limited by the high proportion of female participants ( n = 411) compared to and male participants n = 110). A study in which males and females are equally represented could be better extrapolated to the general public.
However, a similar study, performed in 2012 with 45. 6% male participants found very similar results to the present study; tattooed individuals scored significantly higher than non-tattooed individuals in extraversion, but did not score differently in any of the other Big Five personality dimensions (Swami et al.
, 2012). Future research should be conducted with a more age-diverse sample, as the present study had a mean age of 24. 47 years old. Though this study lends itself well to explaining the personality attributes of the younger generation, it does not shed any light onto the baby boomer generation, who are currently the individuals holding CEO, managerial, and most importantly, hiring positions over the younger population (Odgers Berndtson, 2012).
- Over the next decade, a mass exodus of baby boomers is expected to occur, leaving open positions for the younger generation (Odgers Berndtson, 2012);
- However, if baby boomers are still utilizing stigmatized hiring criteria regarding tattoos, they are excluding a class of individuals who are more proactive and task performance oriented than their age-matched peers (Pearsall & Ellis, 2006);
Gathering more research regarding generational differences in personality attributes and attitudes towards tattoos may have the potential to change current hiring criteria. Additionally, examining the final two personality domains (agreeableness and openness to experience) in the Big Five Inventory may lead to further information regarding the relationship between tattoos and personality, which could divulge more information regarding desirable characteristics in employees.
Agreeableness has been correlated with success in several specific job fields, such as those that require considerable interpersonal interaction. Similarly, the openness to experience dimension has predicted success in fields where teamwork and training performance are important (Barrick et al.
, 2001). Finally, associations between tattoos and personality could be further explored by examining whether the effect is binary (tattoo vs. non-tattoo) or a gradient (influenced by the quantity of tattoos). Tattooing has rapidly become a prevalent phenomenon in western culture.
It may therefore be time to reexamine the stigma attached to hiring tattooed individuals. Extraversion, which indicates higher levels of task performance and proactivity in a job setting (Pearsall & Ellis, 2006), is starting, through recent research, to become associated with tattooed individuals.
The business industry stands to gain quality employees who may be well suited to long-term success and significant contributions to the company if hiring criteria regarding tattoos were to be reassessed (Sackett, Burris, & Ryan, 1989). REFERENCES
- Barrick, M. , Mount, M. , & Judge, T. (2001). Personality and performance at the beginning of the new millennium. What do we know and where do we go next? International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9 , 9-30.
- Burgess, M. , & Clark, L. (2010). Do the “savage origins” of tattoos cast a prejudicial shadow on contemporary tattooed individuals? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40 , 746-764.
- Horne, J. , Knox, D. , Zusman, J. , and Zusman, M. (2007) Tattoos and piercings: Attitudes, behaviours, and interpretations of college students. College Student Journal, 41 , 1011-1020.
- John, O. , Donahue, E. , & Kentle, R. (1991). The Big Five Inventory–Versions 4a and 54. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Personality and Social Research.
- Li, N. , Barrick, M. , Zimmerman, R. , & Chiabaru, D. (2014). Retaining the productive employee: The role of personality. The Academy of Management Annals, 8 , 347-395.
- Littell, A. (2003). The illustrated self: Construction of meaning through tattoo images and their narratives (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from Proquest database. (Order No. AAI3077541).
- Odgers Berndtson. (2012). After the Baby Boomers: A Next Generation of Leadership [Brochure]. London: England, Cass Business School.
- Palaiou, K. & Furnham, A. (2014). Are bosses unique? Personality facet differences between CEOs and staff in five work sectors. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 66 , 173-196.
- Parry, A. (1933). Tattoo; Secrets of a strange art as practiced among the natives of the United States. Madison, WI: Simon and Schuster.
- Pearsall, M. , & Ellis, A. (2006). The effects of critical team member assertiveness on team performance and satisfaction. Journal of Management, 32 , 575-594.
- Roberts, T. , & Ryan, S. (2002). Tattooing and high risk behavior in adolescents. Pediatrics, 110 , 1058-1063.
- Sackett PR, Burris LR, Ryan AM. (1989). Coaching and practice effects in personnel selection. In Coo per CL, Robertson IT (Eds. ), International review of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 145–183). New York: Wiley.
- Schmitt, D. , Allik, J. , McCrae, R. , Benet-Martínez, V. , Alcalay, L. , & Ault, L. (2007). The geographic distribution of Big Five personality traits: Patterns and profiles of human self-description across 56 nations. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38 , 173–212.
- Stabile, S. (2013). The use of personality tests as a hiring tool: Is the benefit worth the cost?. University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, 4 , 279-288.
- Stirn, A. , Hinz, A. , & Brahler, E. (2006). Prevalence of tattooing and body piercing in Germany and perception of health, mental disorders, and sensation seeking among tattooed and body-pierced individuals. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 60 , 531-534
- Swami, V. (2012). Written on the body? Individual differences between British adults who do and do not obtain a first tattoo. Scandinavian Journal Of Psychology, 53 , 407-412.
- Swami, V. , Pietschnig, J. , Bertl, B. , Nader, I. , Stieger, S. , & Voracek, M. (2012). Personality differences between tattooed and non-tattooed individuals. Psychological Reports, 111 , 97-106.
- Tate, J. , & Shelton, B. (2008) Personality correlates of tattooing and body piercing in a college sample: the kids are alright. Personality and Individual Differences, 45 , 281-285.
- Wohlrab, S. (2007). Differences in personality characteristics between body-modified and non-modified individuals: Associations with individual personality traits and their possible evolutionary implications. European Journal Of Personality, 21 , 931-951.
- Wohlrab, S. , Fink, B. , & Kappeler, P. (2005). Human body ornaments from an evolutionary perspective – Diversity and function of tattoos, piercings, and scarification. Mitteilungen der Anthropologischen Gesellschaft Wein, 134/135 , 1-10.
- Wohlrab, S. , Stahl, J. , Rammsayer, T. , & Kappeler, P. (2007) Differences in personality characteristics between body modified and nonmodified individuals and possible evolutionary implications. European Journal of Personality, 21 , 931-951.
What is the psychology behind tattoos?
So why are tattoos so popular? – Tattoos can symbolize a life story. In some cases, tattoos help process traumatic life events, like loss of a family member or close friend. It can also be a personal adventure. Researchers around the world who study human behaviors have been interested in finding out what makes people modify their body.
Are tattooed people smarter?
The average value of tattooed in the field of intelligence is IQ 113. 6 and the standard deviation at 13. 91. As for creativity, for intelligence is only little variation between the values of tattooed and non-tattooed participants.
Are tattoos spiritual?
CONSCIOUS INK: SOMETHING IS SHIFTING IN OUR CULTURE – And a new tattoo enthusiast has been born. One who recognizes their ink as living body art that resonates with their body’s frequency. Undeniably there is something deep, profound, and boundless about tattoos and being tattooed.
- Getting a tattoo not only opens portals on your skin but also exposes the mysterious realms of consciousness;
- In our society, which craves authenticity, individuality and self-expression, tattoos have made their way from subculture to pop culture;
Tattoos have their roots in the indigenous and pagan religions, and their spiritual and magical qualities are the underbelly of today’s ink explosion. There is currently an overwhelming interest in tattoos. Many tattoo enthusiasts who ink up most likely don’t realize that they are imprinting a permanent talisman and conscious affirmation onto and into their body.
- Deciding to get a tattoo opens the door for you to explore the deeper meaning of symbols, the cryptic language of your spirit;
- Tattoos are a meaningful form of self-expression and even more so when they are consciously inked;
They not only transform your skin but also your consciousness. Your ink may even represent something from another lifetime that has come through for review. The Maori, along with other Polynesian groups, believe that a person’s spiritual efficacy, or life force, is displayed through their tattoo.
- Tattoos are more than just body art;
- They are a self-proclamation of one’s consciousness, identity, and being;
- They are the outward manifestation of where the psyche meets the soul;
- The art has a spiritual or supernatural quality that surpasses normal comprehension;
Looking at tattoos through the lens of consciousness gives you a new perspective, which reveals their undeniable roots in Shamanism, pure magic, mysticism, and the ability for self-transformation. We embody the mystical energy of our tattoo symbols. They are spiritual birthmarks, soul prints of our consciousness.
- They hold space for an inner archetype to come forward and are also a modality for inviting new energy into your being;
- Their mystical value goes deeper than your skin;
- Consciously tattooing can be a vehicle for self-empowerment;
When you decide to get a tattoo, you are also taking part in a potent blood ritual that opens your inner pathways to self-awareness. Getting a tattoo takes you well beyond just capturing an image on your body; it also stirs up the emotional cellular memory that lies beneath your skin.
You are crossing a threshold and making a commitment to an inked-on symbol that you not only outwardly wear but also embody. Tattoos take on the vibration and intention that is imbued into them, including the transference of energy between the tattooist and the client.
Your ink goes beyond the watermark of vanity, for there is also an edgy side that still serves as a modern-day ritual of drawing blood, piercing the skin, and revealing the cryptic messages of our spirit. Where you choose to place your tattoo is significant in the language of energy.
Certain places on the body take in and expel lots of energy. Your body has many chakras, or energy centers, along with 12 main meridians and over 350 acupuncture points located along the meridians. Your skin is the largest and most sensitive organ, and tattoos affect the energy that passes through it.
The tattoo design and body placement should be carefully considered because it interfaces with the subtle body (aura) energy field. Getting a tattoo initiates a change that ripples throughout every layer of your being, from spiritual to physical and vice versa.
- The symbol you choose to tattoo, in a sense, becomes a portal;
- It can be a wound which opens the tomb of emotional energy stored in your deep cellular memory or it can also act as a womb that births the crossing of a new threshold;
Tattoos reflect the never-ending cyclical motif of death and rebirth. Think about the images you choose to have inked onto your skin. Are you waking up an inner archetype that wants to come through or possibly integrating your shadow to release unexpressed emotions? Your ink can also be considered tattoo medicine.
Tattoo medicine is a tattoo that represents a return to wholeness, a shift into a new wave of consciousness that encourages authenticity, diversity, and presence. Tattooist Daemon Rowanchilde, a transpersonal tattoo artist, and owner of Urban Primitive Tattoo Wilderness Retreat in Monteagle Valley, Hastings Highlands, ON, shared the story of one of his clients, a police officer struggling with PTSD: In Daemon’s words, “The client really wanted the lyrics of the song Shipwreck tattooed on the right side of his torso and front ribs.
The song was the symbol of his struggle to not be drowned by the immensity of his trauma. I added water features to carry the weight of the words and make them buoyant and surfacing. At the time, he came to me for a tattoo, he was processing a lot of anger over his divorce and issues at work, therefore his placement over the liver, which processes anger and also serves as our spiritual compass, was impeccable. ” (you can read a more detailed version of this tattoo experience in Chapter 6 of Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos ) (Tattoo by Daemon Rowanchilde, Urban Primitive) When you consciously tattoo, you are establishing that the intention, emotion, and image exist on all levels of consciousness without judgement. The tattoo symbolically marks the place on your body where you are able to hold space and be honest about who you are. Tattoo images penetrate deep within the depths of our psyche. They symbolically link into the incredibly wise, yet playful aspect of our being.
The Shamanic ancestral roots of tattooing remind us to connect with the profound, self-activating, healing abilities (on all levels) of our consciousness. Deciding to get a tattoo also opens the door for you to explore the deeper meaning of symbols, the cryptic language of your spirit.
My most recent tattoo nudged the archetype of my inner alchemist forward. I found myself relating to the planetary alchemy symbols that represent the threads of wisdom in my spirit. My experiences from working in the field of astrology and the esoteric arts served as an inspiration for the symbols I chose or should I say chose me.
They are now respectfully inked on my upper left arm. In the language of the body, the upper arm is where we hold our strength. The left side of the body, our intuitive side, asks me to be in touch with what I intuitively know to be my truth.
The alchemy symbols for the Sun (gold), Jupiter (tin), the Moon (silver), Venus (copper), and Neptune, my ruling planet (platinum) now form an empowering matrix on my body. (you can read more about body wisdom and tattoos in Chapter 2 of Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos ) (Tattoo by Nick Santiago, Black Sparrow Tattoo) The sacred, spiritual, and mystical elements of your tattoos hold the power of wholeness. They are the scars of healing, self-revelation, memories, and the stories of your soul. You can further explore the connection between tattoos and consciousness in my new book, Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos. Available on amazon and where all fine books are sold.
What tattoos are lucky?
What tattoo signifies strength?
What Are The General Symbols of Strength? – Image Sorce: Saved Tattoo Here are some of the mainstream symbols of strength and power that people tend to use for their tattoo designs. But, don’t worry, we’ll feature some of the more unique designs in the following paragraphs. There are just exemplary designs so we can get an insight into what people associate with strength;
- The Eagle – ever since ancient times, the eagle has been a symbol of power, strength, leadership, courage, etc. In ancient Greek or Greek mythology, the eagle was known to be one animal into which Zeus would transform when he came down to earth. Nowadays, the eagle is known as a true American symbol, symbolizing a powerful state which serves as a leader of the modern western world.
- The Dragon – for thousands of years, dragons have been seen as symbols of great power, incredible strength, might, and perseverance. From ancient European times, dragons have been feared and often associated with the devil or evil. However, in Asia, dragons are seen as powerful, strong, and able to defeat any evil or enemy.
- The Lightning Bolt – the lightning bolt is an ancient symbol originating in Greek and Norse mythology. It was often seen as a way for the Gods to punish the mortals and non-believers. However, the lightning bolt is nowadays associated with supernatural power and is often used as a tattoo symbol for one’s power and strength to beat the seemingly unbeatable fights in life.
- The Circle – even though it may seem unusual, the circle has been seen as a symbol of female strength and power for thousands of years. It is also seen as a symbol of intellect, power of the mind, female might, unity, family, and wholeness in life. To this day, many women, and men, tend to get a simple circle tattoo to showcase and pay tribute to the power of a female.
Why do humans get tattoos?
Body art, body bling, self-graffiti, walking billboards, fashionable ink accessories. Each of these expressions depict the physical nature of the tattoo. What’s often NOT discussed, however, is the emotional side of tattoos. I vividly remember the first time I saw a “tramp stamp.
- ” A woman was reaching for something in the front row of a large auditorium and a few rows of men and women witnessed her walking artistry;
- Everyone had a reaction;
- And once she left the room, we all talked about it;
It was like group therapy. The responses ranged from “She’s definitely a party girl, probably drinks a lot, has a lot of sex and a rough childhood,” to “She’s probably really creative, edgy, a leader and an independent thinker. ” Some liked her more, some liked her less and many guys were more interested in her because of the tattoo.
Whatever the response, we were all intrigued, and each of us conjured up our own personal version of her story — all from the sight of a well-placed tattoo. In those days, tattoos were still controversial.
Now, they’re more accepted than ever. You could even call them “trendy. ” In the nightlife scene, tattoo artists are rapidly becoming a popular career choice. Sooner or later, we’re going to see a leather-clad, tattoo-sleeved, multi-pierced guy named Rocko at our kid’s career fair standing next to the “Be a DJ” booth.
- Although tattoos have been around for more than 5,000 years (Egyptians used tattoos to differentiate peasants from slaves and social branding has been around a long time), ink art has really exploded in the last 25 years;
 Is it social branding? Tattoos are a conversation starter. Either there’s a story attached or a “skin”-showing session or an emotional response derived from the sight of ink art. And the emotional response from the sight of tattoos leads to a modern-day version of social branding.
- “He must be tough;
- ” “She’s probably easy;
- ” “He’ll never get a corporate job;
- ” “She just wants to drink vodka tonics and dance on a speaker;
- ” Of course there are variables;
- In my opinion, the older you are, the less chance you’ll be forgiving of tattoos;
Neck and face tattoos are usually not as well-received as other locations no matter what your age (sorry, Big Mike). Where you put the tattoo, how may tattoos you have, what the tattoos is and the size of the tattoos all help shape the emotional response of the viewer.
And that observer could be anyone from a potential boss, a family member or a date. You’re incredibly naïve or in total denial if you think your tattoos aren’t going to have a significant positive or negative influence on people who don’t know you well.
Why Get Tattoos? People get tattoos for many reasons: for attention, self-expression, artistic freedom, rebellion, a visual display of a personal narrative, reminders of spiritual/cultural traditions, sexual motivation, addiction, identification with a group or even drunken impulsiveness (which is why many tattoo parlors are open late).
- And now, according to some research studies , 15-38 percent of Americans have some type of long-term body art;
- What was once considered self-mutilatory behavior and a psychiatric problem has now become almost normative behavior;
What Does Your Tattoo Mean? Some people mark themselves for life to remind them of past family members or ancient sayings or religious scriptures or names of their current family/love interest. Other people use tattoos to enhance their sexual prowess or feed their exhibitionist side, and many people use tattoos to visually promote their identity and/or group affiliation. Research on tattoos reveals some interesting findings:
- Adults with tattoos have been shown to be more sexually active than controls without tattoos.
And I’ve personally seen tattoo markings used as an endorphin release and substitute for addictive behavior. An individual addicted to pills was able to stop popping pills but then subsequently became addicted to getting body ink. So what does this mean? Our current society craves individuality and self expression. And now many people wear their artistic expression.
- “I stand for;
- ” Johnny Depp said, “My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story;
- ” Tattoos can visually reveal more about you or distract people from getting to know the real you;
- Some people hide behind their tattoos;
We are having more trouble communicating with each other than ever before, as electronic communication will never replace face-to-face human contact. So, it’s not surprising that there’s a growing trend toward communication via body ink. We don’t have to talk, we just have to look.
Our bodies have become the refrigerator magnets of quotes, sayings and reminders. Whether you like it or not, tattoos are growing in popularity. The long-term fear of being “marked for life” is being tempered by tattoo removal technology and people getting used to seeing tattoos.
Personally, I chose not to have a tattoo (henna tattoos don’t count) because the beauty of life is that it’s unexpected and we change with our experiences. What we stand for and believe in at 18 is very different than 35 or 60. If we stood for one thing in life and it never changed, then we could all have “life script” tattoos (and face boredom on a regular basis).
- But we do grow and change;
- I appreciate the artistry of tattoos but also enjoy the mystery of learning about someone without being “visually influenced” to have a response;
- We all judge, and first impressions probably carry more weight than they should;
Whatever your feelings are about tattoos, one thing is for sure: There’s definitely more than meets the eye. Reference: 1. Caplan J. (Ed). 2000. Written on the Body: The Tattoo in European & American History; Princeton N. , Princeton University Press For more by Reef Karim, D.
Why is it called tattoo?
External links [ edit ] – Wikiquote has quotations related to Tattoo. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tattoos. Wikisource has original text related to this article:
- Tattoos, The Permanent Art , documentary produced by Off Book
- History, Ink produced by Meghan Glass Hughes for The Valentine Richmond History Center
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What are the 5 major types of tattoos?
What does life tattoo mean?
The life line tattoo, which is another name for some heartbeat tattoos, is an excellent tattoo to get if you want a unique and beautiful love tattoo. It can also have other great meanings, so it’s the type of tattoo that a pretty large audience would like to have.
Below you will find out all of the information you’ll need for the love line tattoo, including some of the ways that you can get one designed and the meanings that you can attach to one. Life line tattoos have a bunch of different design styles, but most of them have an EKG-looking line going across their skin.
It is meant to resemble a person’s heartbeat, which is why it is often considered a love tattoo. It’s also a very simple design, which is a great thing for a lot of people because they like to keep their tattoo designs as elegant as possible. In most cases you will find that people get their life line tattoos to show that the love they share with their significant others will last forever.
This is pretty much the default meaning, so you really don’t have to do anything special with the design to use it. The tattoo shows that your heart beats for your significant other and it wouldn’t work as well without them.
There are plenty of great love tattoos out there, but this is one of the better ones to get if you want to keep the design simple without having to get the plain heart-shaped tattoo. In many life line tattoos people will include the names of their significant others and they might even include their own names in the designs.
- If you choose to go this route it’s very important that you find a font that is appropriate for the design;
- Some people skip this step and end up loving every part of the tattoo except for the font that they chose to use;
While many people do get their life line tattoos to symbolize romantic love, some also get them to symbolize their love for a parent, a sibling, or their entire family. This is the type of meaning you’ll want to use if you want to show that you are not whole without your family in your life.
- It’s a great idea for anyone who wants to get a family tattoo without having to get something overly complicated;
- Another popular life line tattoo is when someone includes their child’s name and/or date of birth above or below the line;
What’s great about adding these names or dates is that you can actually interweave them into the life line so you don’t need too much additional space. The EKG line is already wavy, so these designs can look great with some cursive words added into them.
Plus, that makes the tattoo that much more special because you know you have a unique tattoo. Interestingly, sometimes the life line tattoo doesn’t represent love at all. In some cases people get these designs to show that they take their health seriously and they plan on extending their life lines as long as they possibly can.
If living a healthy life is right up there near the top of your must-dos, then this is a great tattoo idea for you. You can even include other symbols in the design to tell a bit more about yourself through the tattoo. Another reason why someone might get a life line tattoo is because they have a newfound appreciation for life.
- Maybe they made mistakes in the past or they survived an accident, so they decide to get a life line to remember to live life to the fullest;
- Regardless of whether the life line tattoo is for love or something else, many people include some type of heart in their designs;
The line does represent your heartbeat, after all, so adding in a small heart symbol can make the design and meanings make a bit more sense. However, you absolutely do not have to include a heart to use any of the meanings mentioned above. What’s great about the life line tattoo is that it is pretty easy to fit anywhere you want to place it.
It is just a wavy line and it can come in any size, so you should have no problem at all making it fit wherever you want it. You could even make it a vertical line if you find that it fits better in that style, though in that case some people might not recognize what it is at first glance.
The arm seems to be the most popular place to put a life line tattoo since you can easily wrap it around the arm or have it designed to go straight up your arm. This is the type of tattoo that people usually want others to see since it is so important to them.
It’s also the type of tattoo that owners want to look at all the time, so the arm just makes sense for a lot of people. Even though the life line tattoo is a very basic design in most cases, you will want to find an artist who is good with his or her line work.
No, you don’t need an expert artist to make a life line tattoo, but you do want someone who you feel confident will do an excellent job on your design. If you are adding in any extra images or the life line is just one part of a larger design, then you will definitely want to seek out a good artist in your area to do the work. .
What tattoo means strength?
Lotus/Floral Tattoo Design – As mentioned earlier, the lotus flower is an ultimate symbol of personal emotional, and physical strength. The lotus design is suitable for both men and women and represents power, strength, endurance, and one’s ability to overcome life’s struggles.
The design is incredibly beautiful, and the tattoo can be either small or big, simple or intricate. Some people tend to chose wonderful color schemes for their lotus tattoo, while others go with a more minimalistic approach.
Either way, you cannot go wrong with a lotus design.
- Tattoo highlights – just like with any design, the lotus tattoo can be either less or more expensive depending on the size, intricacy of the design, and the choice of color. Smaller designs can cost you up to $800 , while larger lotus tattoos with intricate design can cost up to $2,500.
- Best body placement – forearm, wrist, ankle, foot, middle of the chest, side of the neck, the bottom of the neck, lower back, shoulder area, etc.
Other Design Recommendations .
What is the tattoo for depression?
Heart with Semicolon This is a simple but elegant tattoo that makes a statement about depression and would serve as a reminder to love yourself and keep going. Other options might be to have a small heart beside a semicolon or to make the dotted part of the semicolon a heart itself.
What is a symbol for life?
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NPS The ankh symbol—sometimes referred to as the key of life or the key of the nile—is representative of eternal life in Ancient Egypt. Created by Africans long ago, the ankh is said to be the first–or original–cross. The ankh is often shown in the hands of important Egyptian figures, such as pharaohs and kings, preserving their immortality. Moreover, the ankh is commonly depicted in temples and in the grasp of major Egyptian gods such as Osiris, Isis, and Ra.
- It could also have a more physical connotation: the ankh may represent water, air, and the sun, which were meant to provide and preserve life in Ancient Egyptian culture;
- Additionally, ankhs were traditionally placed in sarcophagi to ensure life after death;
While the ankh is a widely known hieroglyph, its origins are somewhat unclear. Because the ankh shows similarities to the Knot of Isis, some speculate that the ankh and the Knot of Isis represent the same thing: an intricate bow. Other theories claim that the ankh could signify the cohesion of heaven and earth, interlinking male and female symbols, or ceremonial girdles.