Tattooing Purpose

Purpose of Tattooing

Tattoos, a body art work in which a design is engraved on the skin, have been used since time immemorial for different reasons. Tattoos are used for decorative and spiritual uses, cosmetic uses, identification purposes and health purposes.

  1. Decorative and spiritual purposes: Since pre-historic days, tattoos have been used to convey religious affiliations, status or rank and love for the near and dear ones. It is also used as an amulet or talisman and indicates if the tattoo wearer is a criminal, outlaw or slave.

Yantra tattoo is worn by the people in Laos, Thailand and Cambodia to protect themselves from evil and increase luck. Some tribal groups in the Philippines are of the view that tattoos can protect the bearer from any mishap or troubles. Catholic Croats in Herzegovina and Bosnia would get tattoos with Christian symbols engraved on their bodies for protection from Muslim Turks.

  1. Identification purposes: Tattoos have been also used for identification purposes. During the Holocaust, inmates in Nazi concentration camps were forcibly tattooed to make their identification easier. Earlier, Maori chiefs used to draw their facial tattoos on documents instead of signing them.

With the help of tattoos, forensic pathologists are sometimes able to identify the bodies which have been burnt or mutilated beyond recognition. Since tattoo pigments are buried deep in the skin, severe burns cannot damage the tattoo. Similarly, seafarers sported tattoos on their bodies so that in case of drowning, their bodies could be identified and given to their loved ones.
Many criminal gangs in the United States use tattoos to reveal their organizational affiliations, prison sentences. Similarly, military personnel in the United States sport tattoos giving details about their military unit, battles etc. in British armed forces too, tattooing is very much prevalent.
Animals like pet dogs, cats and horses are also known to be tattooed for identification purposes. Sometimes, they are also tattooed to prevent sunburn. Generally, a veterinarian makes the tattoos after administering anesthesia to the animals.

  1. Cosmetic purposes: Tattoos are used to hide or neutralize skin discoloration and enhance eyes, lips, eyebrows and moles with the help of natural colors so that tattoos appear like make-up.
  2. Medical purposes: Medical or health tattoos help doctors to place instruments in the proper location for repeated application of radiotherapy and for re-construction of breasts. Sometimes, tattoos also reveal the medical information like blood group about the bearer.

Although the acceptance of tattoos in the Western society is increasing, certain social groups still associate tattoos with stigma.
Be it for spiritual purpose, identification purpose, cosmetic purpose or medical purpose, tattoos are here to stay