Mummies, dating from the end of the second millennium BC have been discovered bearing tattoos. In fact, Otzi The Ice Mummy (3350 - 3100 BC) was discovered in the early 90's, preserved fairly well and with 50+ tattoos covering his body. Scientists feel the tats were for some sort of healing ritual similar to acupuncture.
Polynesian tribesmen with tattoos
The word tattoo (tautau) comes from the Polynesian language. Tat tat was the sound made by tattooing. The tatatau tools consist of a comb with anywhere from 3-20 "needles." They're carved from bone, shell, or shark’s teeth and are placed on the skin. The handle is tapped (tat tat) with a second wooden stick, causing it to puncture and insert the pigment.
In America, a needle is attached to a tattoo gun then dipped in ink.
Symbolism of tattoos varies in different cultures. They can serve as symbols of spiritual and religious devotion, marks of status and rank, rites of passage, declaration of love, wounds of punishment, protection, marks of outcasts, honor a loved one, or celebrate friendship.
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