Tattoo History

The word tattoo comes from the Tahitian “tatu” which means “to mark something.”It is arguably claimed that tattooing has existed since 12,000 years BC. The purpose of tattooing has varies from culture to culture and its place on the time line. But there are commonalties that prevail form the earliest known tattoos to those being done on college students on Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley.For many, people in the Philippines still view tattoos as a symbol reserved for those in jail, a dirty expression, and a dying art form with the tribal peoples of the mountain provinces.Once revered as a symbol for headhunters and their relations, the tribal peoples have since abandoned this expression (as well as headhunting) and lean towards more western ways. The symbols of their tattoos are minimal in documentation and may be seen in Aleks Figueroa’s forthcoming book on tattoos from the Philippines.

Today, those who have been tattooed are predominately of Filipino American descent. They have had keen interests in various styles- American, Japanese, or Polynesian tattooing or any of it’s influence.Today, tattooing is making a strong comeback. It is more popular and accepted than it has ever been. All classes of people seek the best tattoo artists. This rise in popularity has placed tattooists in the category of “fine artist”. The tattooist has garnered a respect not seen for over 100 years. Current artists combine the tr5adition of tattooing with their personal style creating unique and phenomenal body art. With the addition of new inks, tattooing has certainly reached a new plateau.

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