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Fancy a Tattoo?

By Gisele Soo

Tattoos for ladies are no longer confined to beautifying the face. Bold and beautiful tattoos are now flashing tantalising glimpses from Ipohites as their skirts get skimpier and shorts get shorter.

Have you heard about the long and rich history of tattoo culture?

The existence of tattoos can be traced back to thousands of years ago. The art was discovered on the bodies of ancient mummies. The tattoo was relatively uncommon for a number of reasons, the likelihood of infection from the needles and the process was extremely painful.

However, the trend has drastically evolved over the centuries, including the tools used, from hand-pricked to tube-coil machines invented by Charles Wagner in 1904. Previously, many could not endure the throbbing pain from the needle pricking their skin. The device used was handmade from turtle shells and boar’s teeth and took longer to ink as it was done manually.

Following the development of electric tattooing, the process becomes less painful. “It doesn’t hurt as much now as we use cartridge needles which provide a smoother flow with less pressure and quicker retraction,” Tiffany, a tattooist explained.

According to Tiffany, the needles are disposable and there is no need for sterilisation. Also, this has reduced the risk of infection.

There are various types of tattoos such as patriotic tattoos, religious tattoos, feminine tattoos and tribal tattoos. Patriotic tattoos were popular among sailors and soldiers to mark their coming of age and to exhibit patriotism. American troops involved in the Vietnam War of the 1960s were a fine example.

Besides, the tattoos may also be symbolic based on beliefs and cultures.

In Egypt, the art was mostly observed by women. It was primarily used for decorative purposes. According to researcher Daniel Fouquet, it was also used for medical treatment.

China and Greece, on the contrary, viewed tattooing as a barbarous practice. Thus, it was highly stigmatised. It was only found mostly among prisoners or members of a triad.

To the Samoans, tattoos represent and celebrate dedication to the culture and great endurance. In fact, the origin of the word tattoo (tatou) was derived from Samoa.

In Islam, however, the practice is prohibited (haram) as it is considered a form of body mutilation.

Most of us may not know that tattoos hold significant value as well as a popular traditional practice of the Iban tribe.

Why do people get inked despite knowing it may not be removable?

“Some common reasons behind getting inked would be to hide scars and it is a form of remembrance,” said Tiffany. “Most frequently requested designs are ‘Fine Line’ and ‘Black and Gray’ tattoos,” she added.

Tattooing could be practised openly since the early 2000s after the stigma against tattoos abated. “It is impossible to declare invalid as the existence of stereotypes is still present,” Tiffany lamented.

However, many yearn for the freedom of expression; therefore, tattoo gains the attention of the public and becomes part of almost everyone’s culture.

People have learned to appreciate and understand the different meanings of tattoo art. The society, on the whole, has become more tolerant today.

Interested readers can visit Tiffany’s Instagram at @bloodmonkeyartbody or check out her Facebook page by the same name.

 

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