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The History of Tattoo and Piercing

February 28, 2017 • admin

Tattoos and Piercings


Michael Dunn

Com 150


Some people may not know the history behind Tattoos and Piercings, so I am here to feel you in on everything. There are so many reasons behind why individuals get them and I think after you read this you might be amazed at how much you can learn.

Thesis Statement

Some people may believe that Tattoos and Piercings are a waste of their money and time, but it is simply a way for individuals to express themselves through art. Some people may regret them but they are here to stay, unless you are willing to pay some big money.

I want to begin by telling you things about tattoos that you may not have known. First of all they have been around for many years. They were first discovered in Egypt. In 2000 B.C. tattooing was making its way around the world. George Burchett was the leading tattooist in London for more than 50 years. (George Burchett, 1958) states that his clients were actresses, doctors, judges, a bishop, and assorted royalty including King George V of England and the late King Frederick of Denmark.

The earliest record of tattooing in the United States was written by seamen in the nineteenth century. ( Steve Gilbert,1958) claims that the first American tattoo artist was C. H. Fellowes, who designs were discovered in 1966 by a Rhode Island antique dealer and are now in the collection of the Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic Connecticut. Today tattoos are more popular than ever. There are a lot of individuals in this world that have at least one or more tattoos. They are a work of art. Some get them for personal reasons like a death in the family. They get their loved ones names tattooed on their body. Some get tattoos because it is a way for them to express themselves through art, while others may get them to just fit in with their friends. You have to be at least 18 yrs of age to get a tattoo in the world today. In the older days kids as young as 10 were getting tattoos. The used them as a mark to show their culture or heritage. Some even had tattoos covering their entire face. Most kids then did not have a choice. It was something that was passed on from generation to generation. There are still countries in this world that still do that.

Although there are some who love tattoos there are also ones who are against them. Some believe you should not destroy the body that god gave you by getting tattoos. They believe that you were born into this world without tattoos on your body and you should leave this world with no tattoos. Tattoos can be very expensive. They can range from $50 to as high as $1000. There are some tattoos that can cost way more than that. I myself have two tattoos, one is dolphins on my tailbone and the other is an angel with ribbons underneath it with my kids name in the ribbons. I think tattoos are really neat. The way someone can just draw something like that on your body is amazing. It takes a lot of hard work and years of practice.

The process of tattooing starts with the customer deciding what he or she would like the artist to do. Some artist has several different designs that individuals would like. If there is something that you would prefer they would be happy to draw it up for you. Some artist may like your drawing so much that they might even ask your permission to take a picture of it after it is done. They could add to their collection and maybe someone else might want the same tattoo. (Tracey Wilson) explains that the Tattoo machines have several components:

*A sterilized needle

* A tube system, which draws the ink through the machine.

* An electric motor

* A foot petal, like those used on sewing machine, which controls the vertical movement of the needle.

(Tracey Wilson) explains that the machine moves the needle up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times per minute. The needle penetrates the skin by about a millimeter and deposits a drop of insoluble ink into the skin with each puncture. Have you ever watched someone get a tattoo (Tracey Wilson) states if you have you are seeing the ink through what is called epidermis, which is the outer layer of the skin. The ink is actually in the dermis, which is the second layer of skin. I never knew this. I always thought it was the outer layer. (Tracey Wilson) The cells in the dermis are more stable that it protects the tattoo from fading.

It takes an artist a few hours to finish a tattoo. Some may take longer and some may take less depending n how big it is and how much detail you have. (Karen Hudson, 1999) states first the tattoo artist will clean the area that is being tattooed with alcohol and depending if there is hair he or she will shave the area with a razor. He or she will then rub some ointment over the tattoo area to help the needle slide along the skin better.

The artist will then begin by drawing or tracing the tattoo onto your body part. The first part of the tattoo is the outline. This process takes the longest depending on how big or how much detail you are getting. By the time the outline is done you are so numb that the coloring in does not hurt at all. Usually, I tell people if they can tolerate having a baby or even having a toothache, then getting a tattoo is not as painful. At least I did not think so. I do not have a high tolerance for pain but my tattoos did not hurt as bad as I thought. A few parts that hurt the worse are getting tattoos on your tailbone, neck, your

back, your palms, and along your spine. They are all different for everyone. Some might hurt more for others. What it mainly comes down to is how high your tolerance for pain is.

There are a lot good things about tattoos just like they can sometimes be dangerous. You have to be very careful when getting a tattoo. You never want to go somewhere they do not sanitize their tools or even use the same needles. This is a way that diseases can be spread. There are a lot of people who can not afford to have their own shop, so they give tattoos out of their house. These are the ones you want to be careful of. Not only of their sanitation but you also have to be careful that you know they do not give tattoos to minors. Some individuals just care about making a dollar they do not really care if the child is underage. So just make sure when you are deciding to get tattoo, you make sure you find out about their work and who they give tattoos to. It is always good to ask your friends and family (if they have tattoos) could they refer you to someone. Another subject I would like to interest you in is Piercings.

Piercings, like Tattoos have been around for a very long time. Ancient tribes would get piercings to keep the evil spirits away. You might think that girls were more likely to have piercings but in the older days boys were. ???The mom and dad would each pierce an ear as a ritual of puberty, to symbolize their son??™s dependence. There are many types of different piercings. There are ear, nose, tongue, and lip. Nose piercings was required for Indian woman. Australian??™s used a long stick to pierce the nose because they thought it was a way to flatten the nose. Papua New Guinea pierced their noses as a male coming of age ritual. Nose piercings are still very common today and a lot more woman are getting them.(Wikipedia) states that tongue piercing was first practiced by the Aztecs and other Pre-Columbian cultures as a ritual symbol; the tongue was pierced to draw blood and induce an altered state of consciousness. (Wikipedia) claims in the Dogon tribe of Mali lip rings were worn for spiritual reasons, while the Saras-Djinjas tribe of Chad pierced a women??™s lip upon marriage to show the male??™s ownership of her. There are many different reasons why people still today get piercings. Most of the reasons are not the same as in the ancient times, but there still are some cultures who still believe that is they way piercings should be done.


I hope after reading this essay some might feel differently about Tattoos and Piercings. Some may even realize that tattoos and piercings are not just something that people get to make themselves look cool. There really is a reason behind Tattoos and Piercings you just have to take the time to find out what that reason is.


Stephen G. Gilbert (1958), the Tattoo History Book from

George Burchett, Memoirs of a Tattooist from

Wikipedia, Tattoos from

Karen L. Hudson (1999) Complete Guide to Getting a Tattoo for Beginners from

Tracey V. Wilson, How Tattoos Work from

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