The Scythian Pazyryk of the Altai Mountain region were another ancient culture which employed tattoos. In 1948, the 2,400 year old body of a Scythian male was discovered preserved in ice in Siberia, his limbs and torso covered in ornate tattoos of mythical animals. Then, in 1993, a woman with tattoos, again of mythical creatures on her shoulders, wrists and thumb and of similar date, was found in a tomb in Altai. The practice is also confirmed by the Greek writer Herodotus c. 450 B.C., who stated that amongst the Scythians and Thracians "tattoos were a mark of nobility, and not to have them was testimony of low birth.”
A lot of us have imagined ourselves with those same kinds of full-arm sleeves. For some, it could work well with our no-fucks-to-give persona. For others, it's an aesthetic decision, or an emotional one. If you’re serious about it though, then it’s worth knowing what planning is involved—from inception, to execution, to maintenance. So we spoke with Nicolas Gualteros, tattoo artist at Senaspace in NYC, to plot it all out.
These sleeves are awesome. They are a bit tight and took some work getting them up my arm and I was pulling them back up most of the night. And I have skinny arms. One of the sleeves got a snag and now has a run in it. However, they look great and totally pulled the costume together. I got lots of comments and was compared to Howard from the big bang theory all night.

In terms of tattoos on actual bodies, the earliest known examples were for a long time Egyptian and were present on several female mummies dated to c. 2000 B.C. But following the more recent discovery of the Iceman from the area of the Italian-Austrian border in 1991 and his tattoo patterns, this date has been pushed back a further thousand years when he was carbon-dated at around 5,200 years old.
Sleeve tattoos are one of the most popular tattoo designs in the world over, as they look both beautiful and prominent. Like the sleeve of a garment, they cover the area from the shoulder to the wrist, though some designs may be half sleeved or quarter sleeved. These designs combine a large number of smaller designs, which make creating them a difficult and time-consuming task, but the effort is truly worth the while.
Jump up ^ Broadwell, Albert H. (27 January 1900). "Sporting pictures on the human skin". Country Life. Article describing work of society tattooist Sutherland Macdonald Archived 3 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine. refers to his clientele including "members of our Royal Family, among them H.R.H. the Duke of York, H.I.M. the Czarevitch, and Imperial and Royal members of Russian, German and Spanish courts...."
However, not everyone digs deep when it comes to the reasons behind tattoos. There are men who simply get tattooed because they think it looks good on them. Men who think of tattoos this way often go for the most badass tattoo designs around instead of meaningful ones. Because if they want to look good with tattoos, they might as well go big and choose the most masculine and the most impressive.
Yet, as in so many other areas of adornment, there was of course cross-cultural influences, such as those which existed between the Egyptians and Nubians, the Thracians and Greeks and the many cultures encountered by Roman soldiers during the expansion of the Roman Empire in the final centuries B.C. and the first centuries A.D. And, certainly, Polynesian culture is thought to have influenced Maori tattoos.
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1. You’ll often see sleeve tattoos that extend all over the body. They can start on the arm and extend across the chest or start on the chest/back and extend down the arm. As you can see below, her piece extends from her arm, all the way across and down her back. The black color dramatizes the art and creates an eery look that is intensified by the pops of red.
I get angry with myself. This is nothing but snobbery, I think – latent anxiety about the trappings of class. As if my son had deliberately turned his back on a light Victoria sponge and stuffed his face with cheap doughnuts. I am aware, too, that I associate tattoos on men with aggression, the kind of arrogant swagger that goes with vest tops, dogs on chains, broken beer glasses.
Sleeve tattoos have been definitively transformed in the last decade, and now they regularly feature a conglomerate of art styles that border on the edge of optic illusions and meta curiosities. Extensive art pieces can be executed with a direct focus on sublime stimulation. Highly detailed tribal symbols often mesh with futuristic machinery and pop culture icons. Flesh and sinew can be replicated to make it seem like the skin is practically non-existent.
According to George Orwell, coal miners could develop characteristic tattoos owing to coal dust getting into wounds.[10] This can also occur with substances like gunpowder. Similarly, a traumatic tattoo occurs when a substance such as asphalt is rubbed into a wound as the result of some kind of accident or trauma.[11] These are particularly difficult to remove as they tend to be spread across several layers of skin, and scarring or permanent discoloration is almost unavoidable depending on the location. An amalgam tattoo is when amalgam particles are implanted in to the soft tissues of the mouth, usually the gums, during dental filling placement or removal.[12] Another example of such accidental tattoos is the result of a deliberate or accidental stabbing with a pencil or pen, leaving graphite or ink beneath the skin.
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