The word tattoo has originated from the ‘tatau’ in Tahiti, which means to make marks on the body. In many tribes, tattoos were adopted as an important part of their tradition and culture and some continue even today. Hawaiians tattooed their tongues with three dots as a sign of mourning. The natives of Borneo tattooed an eye on their hands, which they believed would serve as a guide into the next world.
Different methods of tapping designs on the skin were used in different places. One method involved using shells with sharp edges. The natives of New Zealand used personal facial tattoos to sign important treaties. The tradition of working designs into the skin to identify a person and his personal achievements is prevalent even today. Tattooing became even more common with the macabre practice. In Japan, tattoos were a part of body beautification and magic. To rebel against the ban of wearing royal kimonos, since they were meant only for the royal families, the common masses sported tattooed body suits.
In order to reduce the risk of infection, the tribes performed a number of rituals. A little hammer and a combination of needles were used to create the design. After the invention of the first electronic tattoo machine, the art became even more famous. Traditional, painful methods were abandoned for the more convenient and quicker methods. Body art gained popularity when the circuses in the US encouraged the employment of fully tattooed bodies. Tattoos are known to have symbolized American culture, since then.
The Japanese body suits, Celtic symbols, tribal motifs, religious and abstract tattoos are very popular with the younger generation. Today tattoo art is more colorful and artistically expressed.