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History of tattoos

By Vince Hemingson Their is ample anthropological and archeological evidence to show that women have been altering the appearance of their breasts in order to enhance their attractiveness since the dawn of time. I am speaking primarily of tattooing, but also of body-painting and piercing. This phenomenon is more widespread than isolated and cuts across many different cultures around the world. Mummies of ancient Egyptian courtesans show that their breasts and bellies were tattooed. Berber women in North Africa still tattoo their breasts with beauty marks to this day. Tattooing of the breasts has been practiced by the women of the hill tribes of The Philippines, the Maoris of New Zealand, many of the Polynesians of the South Pacific, and many of the native peoples of North America. It is an extraordinarily common practice. In modern Western society since the mid-18th century there has even been a significant percentage of the women of the population who have been tattooed and contrary to popular myth, not all of them have been prostitutes or women of easy virtue. When Captain Cook and his crew returned from their voyages to Polynesian, the salons of London and Paris and the other capitals of Europe were abuzz with tales of tattooed savages. Many of Cook's men, and even his Officer's, had gotten tattooed. This craze even extended to member of the upper classes and it was not uncommon for members of the social elite in England to gather after dinner in the great country houses and partially disrobe in order to show off their tattoos. Winston Churchill's mother, Lady Randolph, or Jenny as she was called by close friends, is known not only to have been tattooed but to have had her nipples pierced. If, as many of us would believe, breasts approach perfection, why would so many cultures advocate and encourage their alteration, some might even say mutilation? Like most things in life there is probably no one answer but a number of theories have been put forward. Tattooing in many cultures is a ritual closely tied to the rite of passage from adolescence to adulthood. In both men and women tattooing demonstrated to the rest of the community that the individual tattooed was now an adult, ready to take on an adult role and assume adult responsibilities. The tattooing was a rite that was painful and bloody, a clear demarcation line between childhood and adulthood. For men, it meant they were now warriors, expected to protect the community with their lives if necessary. For women it meant they were now sexually mature and ready to bear children.


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