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The Origin of Old School Tattoos

Tattoos have been in existence since Neolithic times. In 1991, the remains of "Otzi, the iceman" (a mummy from 3,300 B.C.) was found in the Ă–tztal Alps, near the border between Austria and Italy . The mummy bore 57 tattoos. Among them were numerous small parallel lines along the lumbar, legs and the ankles. We now think that this was done for the treatment of arthritis.

Tattooing has also been featured prominently in one of the Four Classic Novels in Chinese literature. Henna and Mehndi were popular in ancient India and ancient Egypt and still remain popular today in the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and North Africa. Tattooing in the Philippines is a tribal form of rank and accomplishment. Some tribes believe that tattoos possess magical qualities.

During the gradual process of Christianization in Europe, tattoos were often considered remaining elements of paganism and were generally prohibited under law. In the classic Greek period, tattooing was only common among slaves. In Japan, the art of getting tattoos is also ancient; dating back to 10,000 B.C. Traditional Samoan tattooing is quite painful and lengthy and is an ordeal that even today is not lightly undertaken.

In the 18th century, Captain James Cook sailed to Polynesia in the South Pacific. When Cook and his men returned to Europe, they spoke of the 'tattooed savages' that they had encountered. Cook introduced the word "tattoo" to the English language. The Tahitian word, "tatau" is the origin of the English word "Tattoo".
The upper classes all over Europe sported body tattoos in the 19th century. In Britain, it was whispered that Queen Victoria had a small tattoo in a very private location of her body. Denmark's king Frederick had tattoos and even Winston Churchill had an anchor tattooed on his forearm.

In America, the tattoo became quite popular during World War II. Returning soldiers and sailors wanted souvenirs to show off their worldly exploits to their family and friends. Popular designs include Navy and other armed forces symbols, anchors, daggers, pin up girls, mermaids, roses, hearts, and swallow and sparrow tattoos. These Western traditional design style tattoos, or old school tattoos feature bright red and green colors with little or no shading. Yellow, blue, purple and brown colors were rarely used in the designs. Each design had symbolism behind it. For example, the tattoo symbol of love is the both the rose and the heart.

Today, Old School Tattoos are enjoying a worldwide resurgence of popularity. Historical evidence shows us that elements of old school tattoos have been in existence throughout most of the world's history. The timeless designs and patterns of the Old School Tattoos have been around since prehistoric times and remain attractive to us even today.

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