Tattooing and Body Art

Tattooing or body art evolved in the pre-historic era, when people used to believe that the spirit of another creature guarded the soul. This creature's picture was tattooed on the body as measure of safety, which used to lead the soul safely down the path of life. This body art was supposed to keep the spirit close to the soul always.

Slowly it gathered social importance. The natives of African and American Tribes used to do body art to gain social stature. The chiefs used to have different body markings like the sun or god arts, the other men in the tribe would have markings like buffalo arts or some other hunted animal arts. According to the age and stature of a person also they had tattoos on their bodies. Women had special tattoos to indicate their marital status.

The Maoris of New Zealand and Ainus of Japan have facial tattoos. Tattoos are used for various purposes like spiritual, magical, religious and nowadays for cosmetic purpose. Cosmetic tattooing includes permanent make-up and hiding of any imperfections. They are done in such a way that it looks like natural make-up . Criminals who have their own designs by which they can identify themselves easily also do tattooing. Animals are also tattooed to identify them

Tribal Tattoos: Tribal tattoos are influenced by tribal art of the natives of Maoris of New Zealand, Eskimo totems, Aztec sun clock tattoos etc. These tattoos generally consist of only black lines but now colored tattoos are becoming very popular. The revival of tribal art is bringing back the designs of tribal tattoos in a big way.

Types of Body Art Tattoos

  • Abstract tattoos: The tribal tattoos belong to abstract tattoos category as well as the modern abstract tattoos.
  • Naturalistic tattoos: When the tattoos are made to look natural like shading, detailing they fall in the naturalistic category.
  • Complex or Combination tattoos: In combination type of tattooing a combination of designs which are not related to each other are put in such a way that they complement each other beautifully
  • Simplified or stylized tattoos: This includes designs such as cartoon characters,

    Tattooing procedure

    There are different methods of tattooing. In tribal societies, designs are cut into the skin which is then injected with ink, ash or other coloring agents. Some cultures use sharpened sticks or animal bones to inject ink into the skin. In Japan this technique is called Irezumi. They use non-electrical tools like hand made tools with needles of bamboo or steel to inject ink into the skin.

    Today electric tattooing machines called tattoo guns has become very common. These machines inject ink into skin with the help of needles that are attached to an oscillating unit. The needles go in and come out of the skin a hundred times per minute. The handmade machines by which tattooing is done causes a lot of pain and injury and there is scope for contracting hepatitis and HIV.

    Ink which used in tattooing is a mixture of water and ashes of burnt candlenuts.

    Aftercare after tattooing : The "aftercare" after tattooing is very important. Generally dirt and clothes should be kept away from them for some time. Some tattoo artists recommend covering it with cling films, paper towels or washing it with hot water.

    Removal of tattoo: Removing of tattoo can be done in several ways though each of them is not completely free of side effects. Removal of tattoo depends on many factors like size, location, length of time etc.

    Excision: This method can be used when the area is small. For larger areas the method should be used in a phased manner. Anesthesia is applied to the area then the tattoo is removed surgically. The edges are then stitched to minimize bleeding.

    Dermabrasion: In this method, a solution is sprayed to freeze the area. The skin peels off with the help of an abrasive instrument. Then the area is dressed to prevent bleeding.

    Laser: A cream is applied on the area after which light is directed on the tattoo causing it to break into pigments. It requires many sittings to completely remove everything.

    Salabrasion: It is one of the oldest methods of tattoo removal. Local anesthesia is applied on the region after which salt water is applied in and around the area. Then using an abrasive instrument the tattoos are removed. The area is then dressed up to avoid bleeding.

    Tattoos and diseases: It is very important for the tattoo artist to maintain hygiene while practicing this art. Only disposable needles should be used and different ink should also be used for different clients. The place should be very clean. Tattoo artists should wash their hands and place with hot water. They should use gloves while tattooing. Equipments should be sterilized properly.

    Body Piercing

    Women have always been fascinated with jewelry from time immemorial. In fact tribals used to wear jewelry in all parts of their body right from ears, nose mouth, navel. Slowly the art of wearing jewelry in other body parts other than ears and nose disappeared. But as they fashion repeats itself, it started with piercing the ears in more than one place.

    Slowly it became two, then three and some even went in for 4. As trends kept on changing, the men were not left far behind. As a fashion statement they too started wearing ear studs, though the tribals used to always wear them. In the process of history repeating itself, the unconventional youth started piercing the body parts wherever possible like eyebrows, lips, navel, chin and wore trendy jewelry.

    Piercing procedures: Contemporary procedures use sterilized equipments and gloves which are discarded after each use. The piercers create an opening in the body with a sharp object like scalpel or needle. When the needle is inserted into the body, the jewelry to be worn is pushed on the back of the needle

    After care and precautions

    Lot of restraint and care needs to be taken after body piercing especially in sensitive areas like mouth and tongue and navel and private body parts. There is a big list of don'ts to do like if a tongue is pierced, care should be taken to see that the mouth is kept extremely clean with mouthwash, there should be no oral contact with anyone till it heals, alcohol, spicy food should be avoided.

    There are chances that teeth may get broken, gums may start bleeding after piercing. A person has to be mentally prepared to face everything bravely. It is advisable to resort to other things to remain trendy and unique instead of going in for body piercing.

    animals, flowers etc

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