Many tattoos serve as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, amulets and talismans, protection, and as punishment, like the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. The symbolism and impact of tattoos varies in different places and cultures. Tattoos may show how a person feels about a relative (commonly mother/father or daughter/son) or about an unrelated person.[13] Today, people choose to be tattooed for artistic, cosmetic, sentimental/memorial, religious, and magical reasons, and to symbolize their belonging to or identification with particular groups, including criminal gangs (see criminal tattoos) or a particular ethnic group or law-abiding subculture. Popular verses include John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, and Psalms 23.[14]

In Samoa, the tradition of applying tattoo, or tatau, by hand has been unbroken for over two thousand years. Tools and techniques have changed little. The skill is often passed from father to son, each tattoo artist, or tufuga, learning the craft over many years of serving as his father's apprentice. A young artist-in-training often spent hours, and sometimes days, tapping designs into sand or barkcloth using a special tattooing comb, or au. Honoring their tradition, Samoan tattoo artists made this tool from sharpened boar's teeth fastened together with a portion of the turtle shell and to a wooden handle.
In 2017, researchers from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in France say the chemicals in tattoo ink can travel in the bloodstream and accumulate in the lymph nodes, obstructing their ability to fight infections. However, the authors noted in their paper that most tattooed individuals including the donors analyzed do not suffer from chronic inflammation.[89]

The symbolism of the butterfly is as diverse as the species itself. Often associated with the soul, the butterfly may represent the spiritual realm. It is also a strong symbol of transformation because the butterfly transforms from a caterpillar into a butterfly, becoming something new and beautiful. This can be a powerful tattoo for those who have endured hardship of any kind and have found a new, better life...

It is commonly held that the modern popularity of tattooing stems from Captain James Cook's three voyages to the South Pacific in the late 18th century. Certainly, Cook's voyages and the dissemination of the texts and images from them brought more awareness about tattooing (and, as noted above, imported the word "tattow" into Western languages). On Cook's first voyage in 1768, his science officer and expedition botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, as well as artist Sydney Parkinson and many others of the crew, returned to England with tattoos, although many of these men would have had pre-existing tattoos.[citation needed] Banks was a highly regarded member of the English aristocracy that had acquired his position with Cook by co-financing the expedition with ten thousand pounds, a very large sum at the time. In turn, Cook brought back with him a tattooed Raiatean man, Omai, whom he presented to King George and the English Court. On subsequent voyages other crew members, from officers, such as American John Ledyard, to ordinary seamen, were tattooed.[49]
There are certain sayings, which you wish to reveal out to the outside world, but can’t say directly through your mouth. The best thing is to get your desired saying tattooed on your skin. To make it look unique, you can complement it with some images and pictures you wish to honor. You can use different fonts to write scriptures, so that you are able to create a unique design at the end.
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Finding a tattoo design that you want inked on your skin forever is a process. Searching the photos on our site will help you get inspiration, or even better, a tattoo artist near you that can help bring your ideas to life. Tattoo.com helps you narrow down results to art created by tattoo artists near you. Learn about tattoos, discover their symbolic meaning, find inspiration, collect the ones you like and easily contact the artists who created them to find out how you too can get an amazing design you won’t end up regretting.


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Richmond, Virginia has been cited as one of the most tattooed cities in the United States.[60] That distinction led the Valentine Richmond History Center to create an online exhibit titled "History, Ink: The Tattoo Archive Project." The introduction to the exhibit notes, "In the past, western culture associated tattoos with those individuals who lived on the edge of society; however, today they are recognized as a legitimate art form and widely accepted in mainstream culture."
Protection papers were used by American sailors to prevent themselves from being taken off American ships and impressed into the Royal Navy. These were simple documents that described the sailor as being an American sailor. Many of the protection certificates were so general, and it was so easy to abuse the system, that many impressment officers of the Royal Navy paid no attention to them. "In applying for a duplicate Seaman's Protection Certificate in 1817, James Francis stated that he 'had a protection granted him by the Collector of this Port on or about 12 March 1806 which was torn up and destroyed by a British Captain when at sea.'" [62] One way of making them more specific was to describe a tattoo, which is highly personal, and thus use that description to identify the seaman. As a result, many of the later certificates carried information about tattoos and scars, as well as other specific information. This also perhaps led to an increase and proliferation of tattoos among American seamen. "Frequently their 'protection papers' made reference to tattoos, clear evidence that individual was a seafaring man; rarely did members of the general public adorn themselves with tattoos."[63]
Because these protection papers were used to define freemen and citizenship, many black sailors and other men also used them to show that they were freemen if they were stopped by officials or slave catchers. They also called them "free papers" because they certified their non-slave status. Many of the freed blacks used descriptions of tattoos for identification purposes on their freedom papers.[65]
For many people, tattoos are personal works of body art, so an off-the-shelf approach doesn’t work for everyone. If you want to create your own tattoo, but aren’t an artist yourself, then Custom Tattoo Design may be what you need. Starting with a brief description of your design their team provides an estimate of the cost. After agreeing on the estimate, you go onto select an artist to work on your design.

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"You can never go wrong with black and greyscale tattoos," Villani says. "Black ink lasts better than any color ever will [...] Bright and vibrant colors look great at first, but tend to fade the quickest. This is often why watercolor tattoos are frowned upon. They tend to not always last the test of time." So, if you and your artist are brainstorming a design, remember to consider color as part of the equation.

Modern Japanese tattoos are real works of art, with many modern practioners, while the highly skilled tattooists of Samoa continue to create their art as it was carried out in ancient times, prior to the invention of modern tattooing equipment. Various cultures throughout Africa also employ tattoos, including the fine dots on the faces of Berber women in Algeria, the elaborate facial tattoos of Wodabe men in Niger and the small crosses on the inner forearms which mark Egypt's Christian Copts.
It's true that some timeless designs can be mistaken as cliché, even though I personally wouldn't consider them to be basic. Roses, doves, and literary text tattoos are pretty common, but no two designs ever have to look exactly the same. Your ideas combined with your tattoo artist's vision will usually result in a unique piece of art, even if you're not the only one with an anchor etched onto your skin. Besides, a tattoo's meaning varies from one person to another. That alone will guarantee your tat to be an original.

The first documented professional tattooist in Britain was Sutherland Macdonald, who operated out of a salon in London beginning in 1894.[50] In Britain, tattooing was still largely associated with sailors[51] and the lower or even criminal class,[52] but by the 1870s had become fashionable among some members of the upper classes, including royalty,[3][53] and in its upmarket form it could be an expensive[54] and sometimes painful[55] process. A marked class division on the acceptability of the practice continued for some time in Britain.[56] Recently, a trend has arisen marketed as 'Stick and Poke' tattooing; primitive figures are permanently inscribed by the user himself after he obtains a 'DIY' kit containing needles, ink and a collection of suggestions.[57]
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