Tattoo. A noun. The art of engraving on the skin, by means of colored pigments (or not so much), generally indelible icons that symbolize forces of nature, doctrines, or any other design or spelling that one wants.
They can be associated with rebelliousness, personality, and demonstrations of love. Just as they may have no meaning, simply for beauty. They can be a lifestyle, they can be religious, they can be what the person wants.
The term is almost universal, and comes from the native people of Tahiti. It is reported that the English captain James Cook during the 18th century encountered people with their skin painted in a definitive way due to a process called Tatau.
Tatau tatau (thanks to the sound that emitted) and the word tattoo came up.
But if you think that this way of art so recent, you are quite wrong.
In a discovery made in 1991 in the Alps, the famous Ice Man, a mummy about 5300 years old, was found with blue lines on his body, probably the oldest tattoo in the world.
Similar demonstrations have been observed in the most diverse corners of the world. In New Zealand, the Maoris – a native people of the region – were tattooing their faces as a form of expression and a way of identifying the family to which they belong. In Hawaii, the tattoo was made in the tongue of mourners.
Warriors from the most diverse places carried on the skin the mark of battles, like insignias of honor tattooed on the skin. Others as a form of protection.
The Oriental tradition elevated the quality of the drawings. Being widespread in Japan since the 5th century, it was banned for some time, making exclusive and clandestine studios responsible for spreading the art. Members of the Yakuza Mafia even cover their body from neck to ankle with the peculiar forms of carp, dragons, carp, tigers and assorted shapes of flowers.
A couple of months ago, one member of the mafia was found in Thailand, because a tourist found his tattoos interesting, posted it in the Internet and it became viral, bringing attention to the authorities.
Time has passed, art has been perfected, but the tradition still lives on.
Thanks to Angelina Jolie and her Sak Yant, sacred tattoos made by Buddhist monks, nowadays many tourists seek Thai temples to pigment their skin. With Khmer calligraphy and abbreviations of religious incantations, combined with images of snakes, and other strong animal spirits, it is said that the technique and its result is capable of giving luck and mystical powers to its users.
With slightly dubious hygiene, but with a strong ritual, just pay a mere offering to the monks and wait in line. I think I’ll still go through that, let’s wait for the next few chapters.
For now I am content with coloring my back, and with the newly tattooed Yaksha on the leg. According to mythology, Yaksha is a guardian warrior who keeps the evil spirits away, and that’s what I want the most from me.
And you? Do you have any tattoo?