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  • History of tattooing

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    Possible Neolithic tattoo marks depicted on a Pre-Cucuteni culture clay figure from Romania, c. 4900–4750 BC Tattooing has been practiced across the globe since at least Neolithic times, as evidenced by mummified preserved skin, ancient art and the archaeological record. Both ancient art and archaeological finds of possible tattoo tools suggest tattooing was practiced by the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe. However, direct evidence for tattooing on mummified human skin extends only to the 4th millennium BC. The oldest discovery of tattooed human skin to date is found on the body of Ötzi the Iceman, dating to between 3370 and 3100 BC. Other tattooed mummies have been recovered from at least 49 archaeological sites, including locations in Greenland, Alaska, Siberia, Mongolia, western China, Egypt, Sudan, the Philippines and the Andes. These include Amunet, Priestess of the Goddess Hathor from ancient Egypt (c. 2134–1991 BC), multiple mummies from Siberia including the Pazyryk culture of Russia and from several cultures throughout Pre-Columbian South America.

  • Marquesan tattoo

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    Drawing of a tattooed man from the Marquesas Islands, 1846. A Marquesan tattoo is a tattoo design originating from the Marquesas Islands of the South Pacific. Marquesan tattoos can be recognized by 'trademark symbols', such as geckos, centipedes, Ti'i's, the Marquesan Cross (which is also commonly confused with other designs) and other geometric designs. Marquesan designs distinguish themselves through the use of symbols and consistent artistic renderings of lines, arches and circles, which are uniquely attributed and linked through history to the South Pacific Islands. Marquesan Tattoos are a part of the Polynesian Tattoo art. The Marquesan Cross is often incorporated into larger Polynesian Tattoo Designs as it symbolises the balance between the elements and harmony.

  • Tattoo

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    Tattoo of the Hand of Fatima A rope-and-anchor tattoo, against the original sketch of the design Application of a tattoo to a woman's foot A tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes and pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigment. The art of making tattoos is tattooing. Tattoos fall into three broad categories: purely decorative (with no specific meaning); symbolic (with a specific meaning pertinent to the wearer); pictorial (a depiction of a specific person or item). In addition, tattoos can be used for identification such as ear tattoos on livestock as a form of branding.

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