Rich dating back
During the Crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries, warriors identified themselves with the mark of the Jerusalem cross so that they could be given a proper Christian burial if they died in battle.After the Crusades, tattooing largely disappeared in the West for a time, but continued to flourish in other places.Fighting an army of Britons who wore their tattoos as badges of honor, some Romans came to admire their enemies' ferocity as well as the symbols that represented it.Soon Roman soldiers were wearing their own body marks; Roman doctors even perfected the art of application and removal.In Borneo, natives tattooed an eye on the palm of their hands as a spiritual guide that would lead them to the next life. James Cook landed in Tahiti, where the word "tattoo" originated from tatau, which means to tap the mark into the body.One method island practitioners used for working their designs into the skin was with a razor-edged shell attached to the end of a stick.
Egyptian funerary figures of female dancers from around 2000 display the same abstract dot-and-dash tattoos on their bodies as those found on female mummies from that time period.Later images represent Bes, god of fertility and revelry.Ancient Romans found no reason to celebrate tattoos, believing in the purity of the human form."Native American women in the Northwest are wearing chin tattoos again, reviving a cultural practice from centuries before the white man arrived.And, in answer to health concerns, artists in the South Pacific are slowly changing to modern equipment.""The melting pot that is the United States has no rites of passage as a single American culture," says Ken Brown, a tattoo artist in Fredericksburg, Virginia, who finds inspiration in National Geographic photographs (see "My Seven").
In New Zealand, Maori leaders signed treaties by drawing precise replicas of their moko, or personal facial tattoo.