Art

Cultural Acceptance of Tattooing

Tattoos may have given the people with them a bad image, as people without tattoos rightly or wrongly associate tattoos with trouble – makers or criminals. Organizations ranging from private companies through to government departments or institutions have not always treated people with tattoos fairly for the reasons presented below.The art of tattooing is an old one that can be traced back many centuries to countries such as China and Japan. Admirers of tattoos would argue that it was the start of a new art form, whilst detractors would count that it was the beginning of an unnecessary or undesirable social practice that should be discouraged. Although as an art form it was most advanced in China and Japan that was also where people with tattoos got a bad reputation. The following quote describes the origins of tattoos:The word tattoo can be traced to the Tahitian tatu or tatau, meaning to mark or strike ~ the latter referring to traditional methods of applying the designs. In Japanese, the word used for traditional designs or those that are applied using traditional methods is irezumi (insertion of ink), while tattoo is used for non-Japanese designs.1Tattoos have therefore been socially unacceptable for the vast majority of the time that they have existed. In most societies, the majority of people that would describe themselves as being socially and morally respectable has shunned tattoos. Despite the stigma attached in many countries to tattooing, it seems to become increasingly popular. The art of tattooing has been put to many uses throughout many centuries. The quote below gives a strong indication of the number of uses for tattoos. This list is certainly not exhaustive by any means:Tattoos have served as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks offertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts.

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