The English word "tattoo" (tattoo) is often thought to derive from the Polynesian "tatau" or "tatu", which means "to mark something".
In addition, this is also an onomatopoeia, simulating the baseball jersey sounds emitted by the tools used in the tattooing process. Although the word was only present in English (and other European languages) when introduced several hundred years ago by the inhabitants of Polynesia, tattoo has existed for much longer than before, and can be found. in many ancient cultures.
The first known tattoos
were on the bodies of naturally preserved mummies commonly known as "The Stone Man Ötzi". This frozen mummy was discovered at the Italy-Austria border in 1991, dating back to about 5,200 years old.
There are about 57 different tattoos on the mummies, including dots, small crosses, and lines. The tattoos appear to be randomly distributed, with some dots and crosses below the waist, some straight lines above the kidneys, and some parallel lines above the mummy's ankles.
Ötzi's tattoo may have had a therapeutic function since the areas where the tattoo was found corresponded to areas of degeneration. One theory is that the ancient healer made incisions in the skin in the painful area, applied medicinal herbs to the wound, and then burned it with a heated metal instrument. As a result, the charcoal medicinal herbs seep into the scars forming a tattoo. This is a treatment for rheumatic pain that has been used by the Berbers of the mountainous areas of northern Africa for centuries.
Another example of ancient people's use of tattoos can be found in the ancient Egyptian civilizations. The bodies and limbs of some figurines dating from around 4000 - 3500 BC are decorated with tattoos. In addition, some of the women depicted in the grave sites also show tattoos. The best evidence of tattoos in ancient Egypt comes from many mummified women around 2000 BC. Before the discovery of Ötzi, these were the first known tattoos on a real human body.
The tattoos on these mummies can be found on their stomachs, thighs, and chests, so some scholars have suggested that the tattoos were a sign of prostitutes. Others believe the tattoos were meant to custom baseball jersey protect women from sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, tattoos can be considered as a form of protection during pregnancy and childbirth. Scientists discovered that on the thigh of the mummy there are small tattoos depicting the god Bes, the god of protection of pregnant women.
Ancient Chinese and Japanese tattoos
In some parts of the ancient world, tattoos functioned not as amulets but as a mark of shame and humiliation. For example, in ancient China and Japan, people who committed serious crimes were often tattooed on their faces.
According to Confucius, the body is considered a gift from parents, so any mutilation of the body, including tattooing, is considered barbaric. Criminal tattoos are a life sentence, these offenders are pushed to the fringes of society for the rest of their lives with the tattoo.