These statues acted as stand-ins for living people who symbolically journeyed with the dead into the unknown. Tattoos may have had religious or magical significance. First written record of Japanese tattooing is from 297 AD. They regarded tattooing as high art. Japanese tattoo artists, known as the Horis, were the undisputed masters of the craft, and the classic Japanese tattoo, is a full body suit. Polynesian tattooing, however is considered by real tattoo lovers to be the most intricate and skillful. Polynesian people believe that a person mana their spiritual power or life force is within their tattoo.
by hand were always dependant upon rank and title. Tattooing ceremonies, conducted at the onset of puberty, were elaborate affairs and a key part of their journey to leadership. First Europeans to see this were from a 1787 French expedition, who reported that the men have their thighs painted or tattooed in such a way that one would think them clothed, although they are almost naked.
American Indians also revered tattoos. Several tribes employed them for signifying bravery or status, while Eskimo Innuit women had chins tattooed to indicate marital status and group identity. First tattoo shop in New York opened in 1846, and Samuel Reilly invented the electric tattooing machine in 1891. Sailors have always it seems, loved having tattoos. After Captain Cook returned from his Polynesia trip, tattooing became a tradition in the British navy. King Edward VII received his first tattoo a Jerusalem cross on his arm in 1862, when still Prince of Wales, starting a fashion among the aristocracy. In 1882, his sons, the Dukes of Clarence and York, received tattoos by the Japanese master, Hori Chiyo.
Both Greeks and Romans used tattooing as punishment. When emperor Constantine rescinded the prohibition on Christianity, he also banned tattooing on faces common among convicts, soldiers, and gladiators believing the human face representation of god image, not to be disfigured or defiled.
11th century tattooed Inca mummies were unearthed in Peru. It is true to say that natives of this region see tattooing as a badge of courage. On arrival in Mexico in 1519, Cortez discovered the natives not only worshiped devils in the form of statues and idols, but had also imprinted images of these false idols on their skin. The Spaniards, knowing nothing of tattooing, thought it to be the work of the devil..