Are You Know American Tattoos History

It was in 1691 that tattooing reemerged in Western Europe in “civilized” society. Sailor and explorer William Dampier brought the heavily tattooed Prince Giolo to London from the South Seas. Known as the Painted Prince, he was placed on exhibit and became the rage of London, a surefire, moneymaking attraction. His Polynesian tattoos covered his body, legs, and arms in the precursor to today’s tribal tattoos. It had been just about six centuries since anyone in London had seen, let alone touched a tattoo. And it would be another hundred years before tattooing would truly make a mark on Western society.

In the late 1700s Captain Cook, another sailor and explorer, but much better known, made several trips to the South Pacific. London society reveled in his stories and embraced the art and artifacts he brought back with him. On his second journey, one of his artifacts was Omai, a heavily tattooed Polynesian male who created such a sensation in London among the upper classes that soon they were demanding small, discreetly placed tattoos of their own. The Great Omnai was seen as a noble savage, and though his tour was clearly a more refined version of it, he was the first “sideshow” exhibit” (Krakow, 1994).

In early America tattoo was still in the elitist stage. Although we see tattoo most often displayed on Native Americans, in this time period, it is well known that tattoo was also practiced by the royalty. The royalty however were mainly the elite’s of European society moving to America for newfound fortunes.

Origin Of Tattoos

In the 1769, Captain James Cook traveled to Tahitia and observed skin marking customs in the natives. In his book, The Voyage in H.M. Bark Endeavor, Cook described the term ‘tatua’ which “leaves an indelible mark on the skin.” In the United States of America, tattoo shops were considered dangerous and were socially unacceptable. But this mindset is now changed & tattoos are becoming increasingly popular in United States among the people of every age. A German immigrant, Martin Hilderbrandt, got the honor of the first professional tattooist in United States.

Tattooing In United States

During initial times tattoos were made by hands, but in 1891 the first electric tattoo machine was issued to the Irish tattooist Samuel O’Reilly at the United States Patent Office. He began his business as a “tattoo parlor” in New York City. This was the first tattoo studio in the United States. Soon the tattoo parlors became the trend in the United States of America. Then, during the First and Second World Wars, military of United States adopted tattooing as a means of protection and remembrance. Conventions, magazines, and other kinds of exposure, made tattooing popular in the country.

Popularity Of Tattoos

People, now, have started appreciating the artistic merit of tattooing. Tattoos are frequently used to express personal and religious belief. It is now seen as a part of fashion and young generation is simply crazy about tattooing. The combination of technology, historical awareness and artistic ability has taken the art of tattooing to heights never imagined before. It has been seen that hand tattooing is also making a comeback in the United States again. Tattoo art is growing so fast today that there is hardly any country untouched by this form of art.

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