TattooA Brief Look into the History of Tattoos

A Brief Look into the History of Tattoos

Tattoos are just another form of art that has been actively practiced in several different countries and cultures. They have existed in our world for over thousands of years, playing a role in conveying concepts like beauty and aesthetics, class hierarchy, cultural significance, and more. They’ve even had an important function in traditional forms of medicine.

Read on to learn more about tattoos and the impact they’ve had on society.

Who Is Ötzi the Iceman?

Ötzi the Iceman was a Neolithic man who’s estimated to have lived around 3300 B.C—that’s over 5,000 years ago! He’s also the earliest example of a tattooed person. When his mummified body was discovered in 1991, archaeologists found around 61 tattooed lines and crosses on his chest, spine, wrist, knees, calves, and ankles.

They also learned that Otzi’s tattoos were all situated over acupuncture points, indicating that they might have had a medical purpose.

The Cultural Significance of Tattoos

To many people, a tattoo is more than just ink on skin. This idea is conveyed in the several years of cultural identities associated with different kinds of tattoo designs and styles—from using tattoos to indicate tribal relations to embracing an era of decorative tattoos.

Additionally, the way many cultures view tattoos tends to differ. While some viewed them as a symbol of beauty, others used them for religious purposes.

Polynesian Tribal Tattoos

In Polynesian and Samoan cultures, tattoos are more than just designs; they were used to tell people’s stories and were symbols of strength and tribal hierarchy.

Getting a tribal tattoo used to be incredibly painful, and it was believed to be a marker of a person’s transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Ancient Egyptian Tattoos

It is generally believed that tattoos in Egypt were mostly done for women and that the symbols would often have religious or medical purposes. Tattoos in ancient Egypt were also used to denote social status.

Japanese Tattoos

Japan is another country with a rich history of tattoos. Japanese tattoos were often incredibly intricate and detailed, with several meanings tied to the colors, designs, or symbols used. Even today, Japanese tattoos are a popular style that many people tend to get.

Western Tattoos

It is commonly believed that British sailors were responsible for popularizing tattoos in Europe. However, this isn’t true and is known as the Cook Myth.

While tattoos in the Western world were also commonly associated with the working class, it is also true that members of the upper class would sometimes get discreet tattoos.


As the years went by, tattoos became more common and popular. Though some people tend to look down on it, modern tattooing is an art form deeply rooted in and influenced by history and culture.

At DH Tattooing, we provide you with the best tattoo experience you could ask for. Whether you’re in the market for realism tattoos, Japanese tattoos, or American Traditional tattoos, our team of talented tattoo artists specializes in various custom tattoo designs and styles. Call us at (925) 784-8730 or book a consultation to get started!