The history of the tattoo industry is like a roller coaster, sometimes as an art of the elite, sometimes associated with criminals, sometimes as a symbol of patriotism...
A survey in the US in 2014 showed that about 20% of people have tattoos. Now, tattoos are ubiquitous, becoming a body art favored by the elite to the common people.
However, before becoming popular fashion, tattoos were associated with gangsters out there. The book One Hundred Years of Tattoos (author David McComb, image: Bettmann/Corbis) covers the ups and downs of tattoo history.
Manifestations of barbarism, disgrace
In ancient Greece and Rome, people considered tatkuink clothing tattooing as a form of barbarism. The European tribes of that time such as Thrace, Gaul, Pict were considered barbarians by the Greeks and Romans.
They are so allergic to body art that they use this indelible pattern for punishment purposes. Stubborn slaves and prisoners were tattooed on their faces to humiliate them. The Romans called tattoos "stigma" (from the Greek verb "stig" meaning "to prick", "to sting"). Today, English still exists the word "stigma" which means stain or dishonor.
Book Hundred Years of Tattoos and David Beckham's picture in the book.
Tattoos continue to be cheap. In 787, Pope Hadrian I banned tattooing. The ancient art of tattooing was considered a custom, heresy, and gradually went into darkness. Despite the stigma of Western countries, tattoos are still used by Pacific tribes. In rituals, they still get tattoos to mark important stages in their lives.
17th century Russians also used tattoos as punishment. The government tattooed criminals, outlaws, and anti-social elements. By the 19th century, prisoners tattooed themselves. Only prisoners who are incarcerated for life, do not expect the day to return, tattoo themselves on their faces. Many criminals tattoo their fingers and other conspicuous parts to flaunt their status in the underworld.
After World War II, monster drivers, Gypsy people favored tattoos. Tattoos at that time were considered rebellious and anti-social. In the period 1946-1969, tattoo studios were shunned by the majority, lost their reputation, and were condemned by the righteous society.
Due to the gangsters, urban wanderers using bold tattoos, gentle law-abiding citizens consider tattoos as a deviant expression.
Trending among the nobility in the past, high fashion today
Although it was not until the 1970s that people had a completely changed view of tattoo art, but before that, tattoos used to have peak periods.
For a short time in the late 19th century, the tattooing viking clothings movement became popular among European aristocrats. British tattoo artists often have high profile clients.
The book Memoirs of a Tattooist by artist Burchett published in 1958 shows that his client list is the first famous people such as the Spanish king Alfonso 13, the Danish king Frederick 9, the English king George 5...
Tattooed kings made European upper society crazy about tattoos. 20% of the British nobility in 1898 had at least one tattoo on their body. In addition to the desire to catch up with the trend, the elite often get tattoos to celebrate a trip to a foreign land.
During World War I, many soldiers fought abroad. They get tattoos to commemorate their loved ones and keep memories in foreign lands, tattoos are sometimes a protective charm. Soldiers on both sides were tattooed right on the battlefield. For rookies, tattooing in the middle of the trenches is an initiation rite.