Tattoo History 3: Native American Tattoo Traditions

Based on archaeological evidence found in plains all over North America, tattoos can be traced as far back as 1000-200 BCE.  Native American peoples were using tattoos for strength, religious and spiritual reasons, as well as combat and as a rite of passage.

As with many ancient cultures, supernatural being such as gods and deities in Native American mythology are adorned with body markings such as tattoos. The forms and styles of the tattoos done on people then function as a template that identifies the realm that these beings reside in.

american-5
Tattooed chest.

Body modifications for ancient and modern Native American peoples can be put into three categories. The first is body decoration which is colorful paints used for rituals and war. The second, tattooing is permanent, which therefore marks that individual, linking them to a specific group, lineage, or kinship. Tattoos can also indicate honors and achievements in war or battle, as well as rituals and politics within the tribe. The third category is body piercing, which is used for hanging ornaments which is lineage or ritual specific. These piercings can also lead to scarification (also seen in many other cultures, particularly prominent in African culture), which can help identify which rituals occurred during the piercings.

american-4

Earliest accounts of what these tattoos may have looked like come from drawings of Native American peoples done by European explorers from france and England. These artists were employed to draw the nature of the land, as well as the people, so we can assume that their depictions were fairly accurate.  Early settlers mainly noted the chiefs and their beautiful indigo, blueish ink, with their rich patterns of hieroglyphs representing animals, the sun, moon, and battle.

american-3

To read more, read the book “Drawing with Great Needles: Ancient Tattoo Traditions of North America”.

Advertisements

Virgin Mary Tattoos:

In the Christian faith Mary is the mother of Jesus, also called mother of God.

In the story of Christmas Mary is visited by an angel and told she will give birth to the son of God.  Jesus is then born in a barn, amongst animals and wisemen. Throughout the bible Mary is constantly seen at her son’s side during his soteriological journey.

Images of Mary often show her praying, or mourning the death of Jesus, sometimes crying tears of blood. She is also often seen wearing blue, crown of 12 stars, pregnant, or surrounded by roses.

tumblr-david-drohan-at-kingdom-of-ink-uk
Crying black and grey Mary and angel by david Drohan at Kingdom of Ink in the UK.

Artists such as Michelangelo and Botticelli, and now, tattoo artists all around the world.

tumblr-jacob-gardner
Neo traditional Mary in mourning by Jacob Gardner from Australia.

In tattoo form Mary is often done in black and grey realism, photo realism, American traditional, or neo traditional.

tumblr-chris-stuart-at-ace-custom-tattoo
Black traditional Mary on the back of a head, done by Chris Stuart at Ace Custom Tattoo.
tumblr-james-armstrong
Full body black and grey Mary with roses and stars by James Armstrong at Holy Mountain Tattoo in the UK.
tumblr-seyer-living-dreams-tattoo
Realistic black and grey praying Mary and Rosary by Seyer at Living Dreams Tattoo.
tumblr-tomas-sanches-pin%cc%83eiro
Realistic black and grey Mary and dove by Tomas Sanchez Pineiro.
tumblr-nene
Black and grey Mary with script on the scalp by Nene.
tumblr-kayne-sherwood-at-flamin-eight-in-london
American traditional Mary with rose by Kanye Sherwood at Flamin’ Eight in London.
tumblr-philip-yarnell
Dark traditional Mary with Sacred Heart by Philip Yarnell at Skynyard Tattoos, UK.
tumblr-zach-nelligan-austin-texas
Full American traditional back piece of Mary with Christ by Zach Nelligan in Austin, Texas.

Which is your favorite?

Artist of the Month: Carlos Torres

Carlos Torres is a hyper realistic black and grey artist from San Pedro CA. He is almost entirely self taught with 18 years of experience behind him. He is a tattoo artist and a painter who specializes in realism and surrealism.

carlos-1
Angel riding horses in a full back piece.

 

His work is incredibly detailed and realistic. He creates brilliant original pieces. He has been to numerous tattoo conventions around the world and won the first place black and grey in London. His work has the feeling of a painting come to life, thanks to his experience with oil paintings.

carlos-4
Chest piece with skeleton, sword swallower, and fire breather.

Carlos has even done head and face tattoos, which can be daunting as it is extremely visible and will be one of the first things people see when looking at his clients.

carlos-2
Surrealist face.
carlos-3
Full face with a Mayan style.
carlos-5
Full leg sleeve of warriors.
carlos-6
Another brilliant (not quite finished) back piece.
carlos-7
Lady head and tiger.
carlos-8
Huge horse with surrealist design within.
carlos-9
Huge motorcycle on the belly.
carlos-10
Mayan temple style rib piece.
carlos-11
Surrealist puppet master.
carlos-12
Healed full torso piece with Victorian woman, ship, skulls, angels, and surrealist filler.

Which is your favorite piece by Carlos?

Dr. Who Tattoos:

Dr. Who is a science fiction show that has been produced by the BBC since 1963. It is a cult favorite show around the world that features, aliens, robots, time travel, and space exploits.

The Doctor (various versions), the Tardis, space whales, Rose, and various villains are popular designs for Dr. Who tattoos. Dr. Who tattoos are often done in American traditional style, neo traditional, realism, black and grey, and watercolor.

tumblr-carl-caracia-at-orange-tattoo-co
Watercolor space whale by Carl Caracia at Orange Tattoo Co.
tumblr-pete-larkin-at-kyklops-tattoo-in-pittsburgh
Neo traditional Rose and wolf done by Pete Larkin at Kyklops Tattoo in Pittsburgh.
tumblr-tom-cutsinger-at-eternal-tattoo-in-columbus-ne
Watercolor and script with Tardis and star dust by Tom Cutsinger at Eternal Tattoo in Columbus NE.
tumblr-jay-joree-in-dallas-tx-10th-doctor
The 10th Doctor and Tardis by Jay Joree in Dallas Tx.
tumblr-ernesto-visser
Traditional Tardis by Ernesto Visser.
tumblr-neil-england-at-empire-tattoo-in-boston
Brilliant realistic half sleeve of space and the Tardis by Neil England at Empire Tattoo in Boston.
tumblr-nicole-auletto-at-dollhouse-tattoo-parlour-in-glendora-nj
Tardis and angels by Nicole Auletto at Dollhouse Tattoo Parlour in Glendora NJ.
tumblr-peta-jamieson
Watercolor and blackwork piece by Peta Jamieson.
tumblr-teresa-sharp
Realistic half sleeve of Tardis with space background by Teresa Sharp in Richmond VA.
tumblr-victoria-rose-lundberg-at-wild-heart-tattoo-brisbane
Tardis in vincent Van Gogh style by Victoria Rose Lundberg at Wild Heart Tattoo in Brisbane.

Fans are extremely dedicated to the show, which is evident from their brilliant tattoos, conventions, pop up shops, cinema screenings, and even symphonic tours around the world.

The Nightmare Before Christmas Tattoos:

1993 Tim Burton classic stop motion clay film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, is a Halloween/Christmas movie that captures the imagination and hearts of everyone who watches. Jack Skellington is head honcho of Halloweentown, but wants something more. Something… Christmasy! Whether you get a Nightmare tattoo for Halloween or Christmas, it’s sure to be a bold one.

tumblr-sean-wright
A bold Jack with spooky house by Sean Wright.
tumblr-anrijs-straume-bold-as-brass-tattoo-company-liverpool
Jack with snowflake by Anrijs Straume at Bold as Brass Tattoo Company in Liverpool.
tumblr-jose-villa-at-lowrider-tattoo-studios-in-fountain-valley-ca
A happy looking Jack in a pumpkin patch by Jose Villa at Lowrider Tattoo Studios in Fountain Valley CA.

 

Jack and Sally, a love for the ages. For all the romantics out there.

tumblr-london-reese-in-california
Jack and Sally looking as cute as ever by London Reese in California.
tumblr-martin-garza
A Nightmare sleeve featuring Jack and Sally, the Mayor, Oogie Boogie, and Shock, Lock, and Barrel by Martin Garza.

 

Oogie Boogie is the baddest villain in Halloweentown; he’s sure visit you in your nightmares, especially if he’s permanently on your skin.

tumblr-bumer-at-mantra-tattoo-in-australia
Bright Oogie Boogie with Jack by Bumer at Mantra Tattoo in Australia.

 

And faithful Zero for all the dog lovers!

tumblr-john-barrett-cornerstone-tattoo-gallery-in-senoia-ga
Jack looking frightfully festive with his faithful Zero by John Barrett at Cornerstone Tattoo Gallery in Senoia GA.
tumblr-brian-adams-phantom-8-tattoo-englewood-colorado
Happy little Zero by Brian Adams at Phantom 8 Tattoo in Englewood Colorado.

 

For some little Halloween miscreants, Shock, Lock, and Barrel are little hellraisers.

tumblr-jon-tran
Shock, Lock, and Barrel by Jon Tran.

 

And of course, good ole Santy-Clause!

tumblr-jeanne-racine
A kidnapped Santa Claus by Jeanne Racine.

 

Which one is your favorite?

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑