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the marking of the skin with punctures into which pigment is rubbed. The word originates from the Tahitian tattau [to mark]. The term is sometimes extended to scarification, which consists of skin incisions into which irritants may be rubbed to produce a permanent raised scar. Tattooing is an ancient practice; evidence for it has been found on mummified remains in Europe and South America that are more than 5,000 and 4,500 years old, respectively. The modern method of tattooing employs an electric needle. Puncture tattooing reached its most elaborate and artistic development among the Maori of New Zealand and among the Japanese, who perfected the use of color. It was introduced into Europe by sailors.

In modern Western cultures, tattooing has been alternately regarded as a somewhat vulgar practice and as a sign of high fashion. It has been used by modern states as an instrument of control, as in the identification of criminals and political prisoners; it is also used to identify race horses. In medicine, it used primarily in cosmetic surgery, for example, to remove birthmarks by injecting a pigment of the color of the natural skin. Tattoos may be removed by a slow, difficult process.

Tattooing has been banned in some areas for health reasons; unclean needles can transmit hepatitis or HIV, the virus leading to AIDS. The Old Testament enjoins the Israelites against the practice, it was forbidden by Muhammad, and a Roman Catholic council condemned it in 787. For the significance of tattooing and scarification, see body-markingbody-marking,
painting, tattooing, or scarification (cutting or burning) of the body for ritual, esthetic, medicinal, magic, or religious purposes. Evidence from prehistoric burials, rock carvings, and paintings indicates that body-marking existed in ancient times; ethnographic
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See C. R. Sanders, Customizing the Body (1989); J. Caplan, ed., Written on the Body (2000).

What does it mean when you dream about a tattoo?

Since a tattoo is originally a sign of initiation, this dream symbol may indicate that the dreamer is entering a new stage in his or her life.


a picture or design made on someone's body by pricking small holes in the skin and filling them with indelible dye


Tattoos may represent those things in our lives that seem only “skin deep” but may be interesting and fun. They could represent our thinking, our playful ways, and our seemingly unimportant habits. As time progresses, we may realize that our passing fads have become permanent. Thus, a tattoo may be symbolic of something that we inflict on ourselves, is permanent if not deep, and generally carries with it some negativity.
References in periodicals archive ?
The shop could not be further from the image of a traditional tattoo shop that you'd conjure up before your visit, as the atmosphere instantly makes you want to sit down, grab a cup of tea and chat away.
He loves owning a local studio, Twisted Anchor Tattoo Shop, in Ocean Springs.
A new tattoo shop in Southern California has a better way.
Just a few meters away from the Razouq tattoo shop on St.
This past winter, a man came into his tattoo shop in Brooklyn Park, Maryland, asking for a cover-up.
"He was with his girlfriend in Paris and one of my friends called me and said, 'Brooklyn is in a tattoo shop with his girlfriend'.
The company knew it was one thing to be a tattoo shop--another to be an artistic tattoo shop with a distinctive eye for curation, style--and edge.
"Instead of going to the kebab shop at the end of the night, they go to the tattoo shop and it never ends well."
Their original operating permit was revoked, the Prestons were told, because the proposed tattoo shop might attract an unsavory clientele.
In one eastern Kentucky town, two new bars and a tattoo shop have been opened, run by former residents and new arrivals who heard that it was a good place to live.
The event is organised by Steve Collier and local tattoo shop owner Chris Jones.