Ancient Tattoo Techniques

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Ancient tattoo techniques involved applying natural pigments from dried plants and flowers with the use of porcupine quills, sharpened bones and sharpened shells. Learn about the use of hand poking in Japanese tattoos with information from an experienced tattoo artist in this free video on tattoo history.

Part of the Video Series: Tattoo Artists & Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Lenny, from Addicted 2 Tattoos, in Tampa, Florida, and I'm talking to you today, about some ancient tattooing techniques. Tattooing has been around for a long, long time. People have predicted that tattoos actually started, when man first discovered fire. It's thought that the first tattoos came about from a man being scratched or cut, getting near the fire, getting the carbon from those coals, in their scratches or their cut, and when that healed up, it left a dark mark in the skin. Since then, man has developed much better techniques for applying pigmentation to the skin, but originally it did start out, by accident, we think. As time progressed, men figured out that they could use tools, to get pigments in their skin, so some of the original techniques for tattooing, involved using porcupine quills, involved using sharpened bones, involved using sharpened shells, and pigments were made from natural organic substances, like dried plants,and flowers. These were then mixed with other carrier agents, like water or alcohol, and were hand tapped into the skin. We call that today, hand poking. We don't do a lot of hand poking still, although the art itself has developed into something highly prized, by the Japanese. That particular type of artwork is still in demand today, and a lot of people who understand tattooing, and appreciate the fine art of tattooing, will go a long distance to get that particular type of tattooing. In history, we find that tattoos have also been around for a long time, because we see these on cave paintings on the walls, that prehistoric men made. Those tattoos show people with marks on their bodies, and these have been dated back as far as five to fifty thousand years, so tattooing the body has been a very popular thing, for a long, long time. The ancient techniques have brought us to where we are today, and thank goodness, we aren't doing a lot of hand poking anymore. We actually use real tattoo machines with sterile needles, and I'm Lenny Welch. This is Addicted to Tattoos. Thank you.


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