Dr. Burt Lofgren, professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has studied the medical history of tattoos, which began as an indication of spiritual identity among Native American tribes.
“When we look back at American Indian culture, they tended to use a stylized image of their self,” he says. “The more they thought about it, the more they wanted to represent themselves as a part of the world. ”
Tattooing evolved so that the body would reflect a particular personality archetype. This led to the creation of styles with names that reflected the individual’s spirit, says Lofgren.
“Tattooing was done for a lot of different reasons, with a few common themes,” he notes. “They were used for a psychological, spiritual reason; to make them recognizable to one’s fellow tribes; to honor dead family members; to honor a person in some other way; for a number of different reasons. Tattooing was a symbol of their character, and sometimes just a way they could make their body visible.”
Tattooing was also a means of creating identity, Lofgren says.
“I think in some ways it was a very universal process. You could see the same body changes for different communities on the same tribe,” he says. “But the reasons for making the body visible — that was a different thing.”
So where did tattoos originate?
Tattoos are thought to have originated in Asia some 4,000 years ago, when the cultures of the Pacific Peoples — the Indians of Alaska, Canada and Central America — had a preference for black ink, and a preference for the same ink-making technique as that used by the Mayas, Lofgren says.
An artist in Australia created this tattoo of a Mayan woman, depicting an eagle clutching her children in its talons.
But Lofgren doesn’t think that makes tattoos an indigenous American trait, nor did he think tattoos were introduced by a Mayan or Aboriginal artist. It was an artist who traveled to the United States to seek out his own inspiration, he says.
“My sense is that tattoos were part of some sort of art movement or fashion movement back in the early 1800s that came, to use a phrase, from the dark side of the moon,” Lofgren says.
What is an anthropologist?
An anthropologist is someone who analyzes human culture and history in
small tattoo male chest, hawaiian flower tattoo designs for women, tribal dragon tattoo designs for men forearm exercises, black rose tattoo designs, american flag draped cross tattoo designs for men