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Tattoo Designs: Tale as Old as Time

Most times, when you’re looking for a tattoo idea, you end up going down a rabbit hole of options, colors, sizes… and you can go back in time and realize tattoos were not ‘invented’ recently by bikers or rock stars. Tattoos are as old as time.

Humans have used tattoos to mark their bodies for thousands of years. Yes, you read that right: thousands. Many tattoo designs you see today could probably be from different tribes or cultures from the past. That’s the beauty of tattoos: that they can mean so many different things to so many people.

Big and small tattoo ideas have been discovered in mummies and other bodies, dating back to the year 3370 BC! Many of the tattooed bodies found belong to Egyptian women, and of course the meaning of those tattoos has been speculated and researched by historians: from marks that indicate their employment to amulets for a particular ailment.   

The Greeks are also part of tattoo history, learning to do it from the Persians and using it to mark delinquents and slaves, so they’d always be ‘marked’ and identified no matter where they went. Then the Romans learned from the Greeks.

Origin of the word

Body art or tattoo comes from the Polynesian languages, (Tahitian, Samoan, Marquesan) derived from the word ‘tatau’. It’s no coincidence that all types of Polynesian tattoo designs are so popular nowadays, even if now they don’t have the same symbolism, as they used to indicate status of hierarchy or represent sexual maturity, genealogy, or rank within society. 

Today, words like “ink” or “tat” are also used when referring to tattoos.

Tattoos in the United States

Although probably every city and town in the country has one or more tattoo shops, New York City is the place credited with the birth of modern tattoos. Martin Hildebrandt, a German migrant who served in the US Navy, opened the first ever tattoo parlor in the city. He had learned the art of tattooing from another sailor while in the navy. In the 17th century, with the rapid expansion of sea exploration, sailors are the ones credited with spreading the art of tattooing into all the corners of the world, and the origin of the traditional tattoo sailor-style

Now, tattoos are a common form of expression, with many tattoo artists and tattoo shops to choose from. Sailor designs are still prevalent, but new and different tattoo ideas are born every day. If history is any reference, people will continue to choose a tribal, rose or butterfly tattoo, but many will be inspired to create their own designs, and continue to imprint their ideas, loved ones, memories, and emotions with permanent ink on their bodies.

Uncertain about the kind of tattoo design you want for your body? Looking for experts to make your small tattoo ideas a reality? Perhaps looking for tattoo ideas for men? The expert team at Alium Tattoo Studio is always available for a consultation, ready to answer all your questions. You can discuss designs, speak to the tattoo artist and make your final decision with total freedom and certainty. Call/text (323) 574-5942 to book an appointment today or drop us a line at hello@aliumtattoostudio.com