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African Tattoos

African Tattoos

Most of the oldest records of African tattoos are found in Egypt. The only other record is that of a 5000 year old man, which was recently discovered in ice. The oldest tattoo was made during 2160 1994 BC. and was found on a mummy. The tattoo was simple with parallel lines on her arms, legs and an elliptical pattern made below her navel. An interesting fact about the tattoos on the mummies in Egypt is that the tattoos were not found on male mummies; only the female mummies had tattoos adorning their bodies.

In traditional African society, there was a form of tattooing called cicatrisation. In the African tattoo methods, charcoal or ash was rubbed into small cuts, made with thorns. This led to formation of scar tissues, which had decorative patterns made on them. The wound, on some occasions, would be re opened after the initial cutting and a pebble or some other small object would be inserted under the skin and forced to heal into it, to give a more obvious raised effort. It is also said that the body art of cicatrisation was undertaken by people whose skin was generally too dark for regular tattoo coloration to appear.

Tattoos were used as a symbol to reflect the wearers character and was also used as a proof of courage and bravery. Both of them are characteristics required to undergo the painful body art. These tattoos were made to give the wearer protection from harm. It was seen as symbolism of guarding life throughout. In ancient Africa, tattoos were not done as mere bodily decorations but to imply the wearer of the tattoo of having taken on an almost supernatural state. According to some researchers, Africans indulged in tattoos so that their original skin color would not show.

African tattoos and their meanings are different for men and women. A tattoo made on women was associated with fertility. The tattoos were made at different times in life. The scars were added on women at puberty, after the birth of the first child or also at the end of breastfeeding to highlight the bravery of a woman in enduring the pain of childbirth. African tribal tattoos were also made on the hips and the rear. They accentuated the erotic and sensual parts of the female body. There are different tattoos designs which were also used to decorate the body.

Tattoos were also used by the tribal people to show belonging to a certain group. This helped them to recognize people from other tribes. Tattoos were also made on male bodies, the evidence of which was found in Libya. The designs used to make tattoos on male bodies included images related to sun worship.

In recent times, African tattoos have become very popular. Among the popular designs used are the Adinkra symbols. These symbols represent popular proverbs and maxims. This symbol makes for wonderful sleeve tattoos. Hence, you will now come across a number of athletes sporting African tattoo sleeves. The symbols of ancient African Gods are also very popular. Along with them, plants and animal tattoos are also popular as they symbolize courage and power of the wearer being at par with the strength and power of the animal.

There are different designs among African tattoos as well, which have originated in different parts of Africa. Hence, the symbols will differ and also the association of each one of them is different from others. You will have to decide which tattoo designs best suit your personality before you get a tattoo made. Talking to the tattoo artist is also a good idea so that you have a better idea about the tattoos. Always remember that tattoos are permanent so only get one done after due consideration!

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