History of Tattoos

History of Tattoos

A Complete History of Tattoos

Tattoos have become a massive part of our culture both in the United States and around the world. You might think that the artform or craze only started a century or two ago. However, that’s not the case.

Tattoos have been around in some way for over 5,000 years. If you want to learn a complete history of tattoos, read on.

Otzi – The Iceman

Archaeologists discovered the first tattoo or oldest dating tattoo in September of 1991. Otzi, a mummified human, gets his name from the place two German hikers found him. The Oztzal Alps of Europe near the Italian and Austrian border.

Researchers discovered a total of 61 tattoos on Otzi. The tattoos are from soot or ash from a fireplace. They’re divided into 19 groups in different areas of the body.

Otzi was about five-foot-three inches tall and somewhere between 30 and 45 years old.

Otzi’s tattoos are on his ankle points, knee, and spine. How he died is a mystery, but they think his death was a violent one.

There’s one extremely interesting thing. The markings on Otzi align with traditional Chinese acupuncture points. That can’t be a coincidence, can it?

But, Otzi was alive 2,000 years before the earliest evidence of acupuncture, and he was very far from China for the time period.

After Otzi – Egyptian Mummies

Until Otzi was found, evidence showed that the earliest tattoos came from about 4,000 years ago. There was a group of Egyptian mummies that are from the time the great pyramids were being made.

There’s some indirect evidence that may or may not conclude that tattoos or tattooing may even be older and more widespread than the Egyptian mummies.

The indirect or inconclusive evidence is that of engraved statuettes that can sometimes be put in the same context as needles and clay discs with ochre.

What Historical Cultures Practiced Tattooing?

history of tattoosHistorical and Ethnographic texts have shown that tattoos have been done by almost every known human culture, including Ancient Greeks who used tattoos in the fifth century to communicate with their spies.

After that, the Romans used to mark their slaves and criminals with tattoos.

Your first criminal offense in Japan way back when meant you got a line tattooed across your forehead. A second offense meant you got an arch tattooed above the line.

If you were guilty of a third offense, you got another line, and it completed the symbol for “dog.”

Of course, we can’t talk about ancient tattoos without discussing the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas. They would have big tattooing rituals.

Then there’s the Norse, Danes, and Saxons who would tattoo their family’s crest across their chest. And the Britons also had tattoo ceremonies.

Tahitians also like their tattoos, and the word tattoo comes from the Tahitian word “tatau,” which means strike or mark. And tattoo means tapped as most tattoos back then were tapped into the skin by bone or wood.

In the Arctics, they pulled carbon thread under the skin with a needle. They could make designs with this method, almost like needlepoint.

Tattoos in Europe

Of course, the history of tattoos in Europe starts with Otzi but, there was evidence found showing that people may have been experimenting with tattoos before the last ice age nearly 12,000 years ago.

In 1867, at Grotte di Fées in Châtelperron, France, researchers found flintstone tools and bowls with red and black pigments.

But, this doesn’t mean the tools and paints were used to tattoo humans. They could have been used to draw on the walls in the caves. So, Otzi is the first or earliest proof of tattoos on humans.

In the early 300s, A.D., Constantine, the roman Emporer at the time, banned facial tattoos.

He did so because criminals wore them; while so did his own soldiers and gladiators. Constantine would have none of that and put the ban in place.

Other Europeans, such as the Vikings, didn’t seem to care. You could find them in the 1100s A.D. covered with tattoos.

In the 1700s, a British naval Captain by the name of Cook brought back native Polynesians with tattoos. The soldiers liked the idea and proceeded to get tatted up.

Alfred Charles South, from London, created the first twin coil tattoo machine in 1899. It was so heavy it had to be suspended from the ceiling to work correctly.

Tattoos in America

The history of tattoos in America can be a bit complicated. The origins of the English word tattoo are from the 16th century.

But the earliest proof of tattoos in America comes from a picture or pictograph of a Seneca trader. The Seneca traders’ tattoos were a bird and snake, which represent freedom.

There is also the picture of The Four Indian Kings from that same era. The King of the Maquas, a Mohawk tribe, is in that picture after returning from a European voyage.

His chest and lower part of his face were covered in black lines that were tattooed.

The origins of the first tattoo machine in America started with Thomas Edison. He created an electric stencil maker.

In 1891, a man named Samuel F. O’Reilly used Edison’s design to create the first electric tattoo machine. O’Reilly patented the machine on December 8th of that year.

Both the design O’Reilly used, which is like a rotary machine, and the coil machine from Europe are still used today to some effect. Nowadays they’re cooler looking, lighter, and much easier to handle with a lot of accessories.

The History of Tattoos and Today’s World

Tattoos and tattoo machines have come a long way since Otzi. We still use the rotary and coil methods, but they’re a lot smaller, lighter, and easier to maneuver.

Modern-day tattoo artists have several different tools/accessories they can use for different tattoos, but they all stem from past centuries of the art of the tattoo.

If learning about the history of tattoos has given you the itch for one, contact us now for an appointment.

To learn more, contact us here.

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Rib Tattoo Ideas for Men

Rib Tattoo Ideas for Men

12 Wickedly Cool Rib Tattoo Ideas for Men

The oldest documented tattoos were discovered on Otzi the Iceman who died around 3300 B.C., but the art of tattooing had already been practiced across cultures way before Otzi the Iceman.

Tattooing has continued to grow each year — in fact, according to a 2019 poll, 30% of Americans had at least one tattoo, a 9% increase from prior polls.

As the popularity of tattoos continues to grow each year, so does the creativity amongst them. Here are 12 rib tattoo ideas for men that will stand out and turn your ribcage into a work of art.

1. Nature

Many people show their appreciation and love for our planet and wildlife through a nature-inspired rib tattoo. The cool thing about nature tattoos is they look good in tons of different styles. From traditional to abstract to realistic, nature tattoos are versatile and popular in the tattooing world.

2. Abstract

Some people would describe abstract art as a type of art that distorts reality, messing around with certain shapes and forms we’re used to seeing in the real world. It can be made up of random lines, brush strokes, and shapes to create a unique depiction of something real.

Popular in the age of innovation and experimentation, abstract art was a way for people to express how they felt about their work rather than focusing on exactly what the subject of their artwork was.

3. Skull

Skull tattoos can be depicted in either a positive or negative light, and the style of the tattoo can have a huge effect on this.

While many people associate skulls with death and decay, they can actually have much deeper meanings such as the power of overcoming death or the idea of rising from the ashes in dark times.

4. Religious

Religious tattoos are great rib tattoo ideas because you can choose to fit a ton of detail into them or you can opt for something simple.

Many people often incorporate well-known religious symbolism in their tattoos, such as the Virgin Mary, a set of praying hands, or rosary beads.

Whichever aspect of religion you choose to incorporate into your tattoo, religious tattoos are a great way to connect to your faith and show off a part of yourself that you’re proud of.

5. Watercolor

Watercolor tattoos have become popular over the years. This is most likely because they take the normalized idea of a tattoo and do a complete 360. Watercolor tattoos don’t have outlines, feature a ton of blurriness and brush strokes, and use colors that aren’t always seen in your everyday tattoo.

6. Geometric

Geometric tattoos are tied to spiritual practices throughout history. While they can still be very spiritual for people, today geometric tattoos often symbolize something a bit different.

Stability and balance are often depicted by geometric tattoos as they’re often created using a lot of symmetry and abrupt linework.

7. Words

Many people get words or quotes tattooed on them to pay tribute to loved ones that have passed. For example, tattoos in the handwriting of a loved one have grown very popular over the years.

Or, word and quote tattoos can be a means of inspiration for you. From your favorite quote to your favorite song lyrics to even a simple word, word tattoos are something that won’t ever go out of style.

8. Portrait

Portrait tattoos have become wildly popular as most people see them as a personal way to honor someone in their life. They can serve as a constant reminder that you’ve loved someone and have been loved by someone. And, as the rib cage is part of the skeleton that protects your heart, getting a portrait tattoo on your ribs makes it that more sentimental.

9. Outer Space

Space tattoos are great ideas for those who are fascinated by the stars, dream of taking a trip to outer space, or are super into astrology. And if you love the idea of space and the look of galaxies, then this tattoo is a great idea for you as well.

The cool thing about outer space being so vast and unknown is that the possibilities are endless. You can do something as simple as a constellation or something completely imagined and made up in your head — either way no one can say your interpretation of outer space is wrong.

Plus, the ribs are the perfect place for you to get carried away with color and detail.

10. Snake

Snakes are considered to be masculine animals and are often considered a great rib tattoo for men. This is because snakes are thought to represent our life force, specifically primal energy.

As a spirit animal snakes can represent healing and transformation, whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually. If you feel drawn towards snakes you should pay close attention to your healing abilities and notice whether or not you feel drawn to nature and the earth.

Snakes can be tattooed in hundreds of different ways and styles, that’s what makes them such great tattoo ideas — you and someone you know could both have a snake tattoo yet they can look and feel completely different.

11. Dragon

Dragon tattoos almost seem to go hand in hand with snake tattoos as their versatility is also endless. Dragon tattoos are typically drawn large scale and have intricate design and colors, making them excellent contenders for a rib tattoo design.

Dragons show strong symbolism in many cultures, and the meaning behind them can vary greatly. In Chinese culture, they can represent strength, wisdom, and good luck. In Western cultures, they represent masculinity and fighting spirit. In Japanese culture, they represent the protection of family and loved ones.

12. Tribal

Just like dragon tattoos tribal tattoos can have a ton of different meanings as we travel across cultures.

For example, Filipino tribal tattoos are believed to protect you from enemies. Africa is known as the home of storytelling, so African tribal tattoos often tell stories with hidden meanings. Hawaiian tribal tattoos can show love and respect for nature and for the land, while Samoan tribal tattoos can just be personal reminders for people that hold great sentimental value.

Looking for More Rib Tattoo Ideas for Men?

rib tattoo ideas for men

rib tattoo ideas for men

If you’re itching to join the tattoo club or even just looking to add on to your ever-growing tattoo collection, these rib tattoo ideas for men are bound to get noticed.

Want to get your tattoo done by someone you can trust? Contact us today to set up your appointment.


To learn more, contact us here.

Henderson Tattoo Shop

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simple sun and moon tattoo

simple sun and moon tattoo

15 Simple Sun and Moon Tattoo Ideas That Are Out of This World

Are you looking for some great tattoo ideas?

Tattoos are beautiful, and many people around the world dream of someday getting one. When some become inspired to get a tattoo, though, they sometimes don’t know exactly what they want. And it’s a good idea to think about the design thoroughly. After all, this art will be on your body for a long time.

Do you want some tattoo suggestions? Whether you’re a seasoned tattooee or someone who’s never received any ink, we think a simple sun and moon tattoo always looks great.

Want some design suggestions? Keep reading for more!

1. Sun on One Ankle, Moon on the Other

When it comes to a simple sun and moon tattoo idea, this is one of our favorites. If you love the sun and the moon, but you’re unsure how to combine them in one beautiful design, consider splitting them into two different tattoos and putting one on each ankle!

This also allows you to go as large or small as you wish. If you’re new and worried about the pain, get a cute, miniature little half moon and full sun on both ankles. If you want a fancier design, add additional details or ask your artist to get creative.

2. Moon Encasing the Sun

If you’ve researched sun and moon tattoos before, you’ve probably come across this design. In it, a crescent moon is placed next to a sun, with the sun’s round edge nestled in the hollow of the moon.

You can go as elaborate or simple with this design as you wish. Some people elect to add details, such as faces, to these celestial bodies, or they incorporate shading. Consult with your tattoo artist to find the best design for you!

3. Sun Encasing the Moon

This design has similarities to the moon encasing the sun one.

The main difference lies in the sun’s rays. The moon is visible as a crescent in the side of the sun, but the sun’s rays go around the full design.

4. Yin and Yang Sun and Moon Tattoos

Do you love the Yin-Yang symbol?

If you do, consider getting it tattooed, with the light side serving as the body of the side and the black side serving as the body of the moon. On the sun’s side, include rays, and on the moon’s, add stars in the background.

5. Sun and Moon Tarot Tattoos

The sun and moon cards are some of the most beloved in the entirety of tarot. Representing, respectively, uncurbed joy and trusting your intuition, together they speak of being true to yourself and finding happiness in who were meant to be.

If you want a reminder of this message, consider getting the sun and moon cards tattooed.

6. Simple Sun and Moon Tattoo

If you want to go as simple as you can with a simple sun and moon tattoo, just get the outlines of each celestial body.

Many people choose to leave the centers of such tattoos blank. Whether or not you want to fill them in is up to you.

7. Get Couple Tattoos

Do you have a special someone whom you consider your other half?

If so, get your relationship inked on your skin! Have one person get a sun, and the other get a moon.

8. Kissing Sun and Moon

If you like the idea of having your sun and moon nestled right up next to each other and having faces, have you thought of having them kiss?

This adds another layer of depth to your tattoo. It also pays homage to the old saying “opposites attract.”

9. Galaxy

Do you love the idea of working with an artist on a tattoo design?

If so, consider asking them to place your sun and moon in the middle of a galaxy. Add stars, shading, colors–whatever you wish–or keep it as simple as you’d like!

10. Realistic Sun and Moon

Do you love realistic work?

Look at some realistic sun and moon tattoo designs. A talented tattoo artist can recreate likenesses of the sun and moon on your skin!

11. Think of the Meaning

Many people get tattoos because they mean something special to them.

A tattoo doesn’t have to have a deeper meaning. Sometimes, it’s just a lovely piece of art. Still, if the sun and moon mean something to you or correlate to a special saying, consider adding words or anything else that reminds you of the meaning.

12. Little Sun and Moon Tattoos on Your Fingers

We love miniature tattoos. They’re cute, easy to display when you want to, and easy to hide if you need to.

And there’s no better place for little tattoos than your fingers! Since the sun and moon are recognizable signs, consider getting them in miniature on your fingers.

13. Full Moon with Trees

Full moons contain much beauty. They light up the night sky, provide light to the earth, and even serve as sacred bodies in some religions.

If you want to pay homage to the full moon, get a realistic one and add some trees near the bottom. This gives your tattoo extra detail and makes it even more unique!

14. Behind Your Ears

The placement possibilities for moon and sun tattoo combinations are endless.

If you want a cute location, try getting the sun behind one of your ears and the moon behind the other. That way, as long as your hair is up, everyone will be able to see these cute little designs!

15. Add Other Planets

Do you love the solar system?

We don’t blame you. Show your love for this vast galaxy by adding some other planetary bodies. Many have readily recognizable outlines, such as Saturn, which can be represented by a circle with a ring around it.

Ready to Get Your Tattoos?

simple sun and moon tattooIf you love the idea of getting a simple sun and moon tattoo, we hope we’ve provided you with some inspiration!

No matter which designs you choose, we’re sure you’ll love your new body art for decades to come. Fortunately, the sun and moon are also timeless, so you don’t have to worry about them ever going out of style!

Ready to get inked? Contact us today!

To learn more, contact us here.

Henderson Tattoo Shop

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Private Tattoo

Private Tattoo

The Secret Art of Designing a Private Tattoo

The number of Americans with tattoos has increased by 21% since 2012. The taboo surrounding tattoos has decreased throughout the years, allowing people to get creative with a variety of ink options. You may have heard of tribal or minimalist tattoos, but what about a private tattoo?

This is a tattoo that has a significant meaning that only you know. Others can interpret it but it is deeply personal. If you’re interested in designing your own but don’t know how to start, you’ve come to the right place.

Keep reading to learn the art of designing a private tattoo.

Think of the Placement

One of the first things that you’ll want to think about before you design a private tattoo is the placement. Where your tattoo is going to be will decide other factors like visibility and size. Not only do certain areas work better for the idea you have, but there’s also the pain factor.

Just because a private meaning tattoo has its own meaning doesn’t mean you need to keep it hidden. If you’re looking for a popular place to put your new tattoo, the bicep or forearm are two great options. There’s also plenty of canvas space if you want a particularly big tattoo.

Hidden tattoos are an option as well; think of a location that can conceal the tattoo with clothes. Some good options include the chest area, behind the neck, and the thigh.

Don’t think that small tattoos can’t be meaningful! Many symbols are perfect for small tattoos and carry big meaning behind them. It’s all about finding the right one.

Meaning Behind a Tattoo

You can indeed design a tattoo that focuses more on the art, without any meaning. However, there are plenty of meaningful tattoo ideas if you’re looking to design a private tattoo. It can be anything from an homage to a loved one or a philosophical viewpoint.

If you’re looking for ideas, consider looking into ancient ruins and symbols of meaning. The first systems of writing developed and used by the Norse were runic alphabets. Each rune acted as letters, but it is more meaningful than that.

Each rune had an ideographic symbol that stood for something godly and magnificent. To write a rune was to summon and direct the energy it held. That is why looking into the rune alphabet is a great idea to find the meaning behind a tattoo.

There’s ‘Uruz’ which means strength of will or ‘Jera’ which is harvest or reward. There are multiple of these, each attached to different symbols. Someone could see it and assume the meaning but they’d only know the meaning if they understood the rune alphabet.

Look for Inspiration

Tattoo meanings don’t have to be particularly cryptic or obscure. This is something that will permanently be on your body, so don’t let anyone’s opinion sway your interests. As you’re designing your private tattoo, search for different sources of inspiration.

This isn’t limited to only other tattoos; it can be anything. If you have song lyrics that mean a lot to you, consider having them tattooed.

Prefer something more hidden? Use the lyrics as inspiration for a design or symbol that only you know is inspired by music.

For example, if the song is about nature and love, then consider getting two trees holding hands. While that might not be exactly what you’re envisioning, that’s the type of creative mindset you want to be in.

Entertainment and media is one way to go. There is also literature, including poetry, as well as other forms of visual art. Maybe take a trip to your local museum; you might find something that inspires you.

There might be a moment when you feel like there are no ideas coming to mind, and that’s okay! Sometimes, the best ideas are those that come to you naturally. You could be speaking to a loved one and they say something that is clearly it.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find the right meaning behind a tattoo. Look for inspiration but also allow yourself to be inspired. Before you know it, you’ll be making an appointment with your local tattoo shop.

Find a Tattoo Artist

With anything that involves your well-being, you want to be in the hands of a professional. This is no different for a tattoo. Now that you’ve designed your private tattoo, you’ll need to get inked.

As eager as you might be to just find the most immediately free tattoo artist, be sure to do as much research as possible. This means looking through reviews and galleries of the tattoo artists that catch your eye. Going with any option, especially if the price looks good, can lead to a less than ideal tattoo experience.

Since you are putting so much effort into ensuring that you are creating a meaningful tattoo, don’t throw that all away by choosing an unprofessional tattoo artist. Look for a shop that has plenty of experience and clearly has its customers’ best interests in mind.

Get the Right Private Tattoo

private tattooTattoos are more than just ink on your body. They’re a way to express yourself, modify your appearance, and put something meaningful on your body. Whether it’s your first tattoo or one of many, you might be considering designing a private tattoo.

This is a great option if you want a private meaning tattoo that others can interpret. There are many factors to consider as you begin the design. If you find yourself looking for inspiration, look at ancient ruins for symbols with great meanings.

Ready for a new tattoo? If you’re located in Maui, HI, or Las Vegas, NV, be sure to contact us!

To learn more, contact us here.

Henderson Tattoo Shop

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How to Plan a Tattoo Sleeve

How to Plan a Tattoo Sleeve

The Strategy of How to Time and Plan a Tattoo Sleeve

From the design, budget, and number of sessions it will take, you need to first strategize how to plan a tattoo sleeve before embarking on this design journey.

Are you planning your next big tattoo project? Getting a sleeve is no joke and it’s a big commitment. It requires a lot of planning, money, and time. Do you know how to plan a tattoo sleeve?

Planning a big tattoo takes some forethought. It’s not like grabbing a quick flash piece on Friday the 13th or adding a new piece to your thigh. It’s an entire project and you need to decide how you want it to look. You only have so much space.

Does this sound overwhelming to you? We get it. We’re here to offer some advice so you can get your new sleeve started. Keep reading to learn all about strategizing and planning a tattoo sleeve that you’re going to be proud to show off.

Decide: Full Sleeve or Half Sleeve?

The first step for planning your tattoo sleeve is figuring out whether you want a full sleeve (one that runs all the way from your wrist to your shoulder) or a half sleeve (which runs from either your wrist to your elbow or your elbow to your shoulder.

Planning a half sleeve tattoo is often more complicated than the full sleeve because you only have so much room and it tends to be more important that everything looks cohesive. We’ll talk about cohesion later on.

Half sleeves will be more affordable and they’ll take less time than full sleeves. Full sleeves have a more jarring visual effect (which some people want). Artists will be happy to work with you when you’re trying to decide and they can make suggestions based on your preexisting tattoos and on what will work best with your body.

Eclectic, Cohesive, or a Mix? You Choose

Sleeves come in two primary varieties: eclectic and cohesive.

Eclectic sleeves tend to have a basic idea in mind and they’re patchworked together over time. These sleeves require less planning but just as much attention to detail as their cohesive counterparts.

Eclective sleeves can still have cohesion. You might work with one artist throughout the process, or choose one color, style, or theme as a throughline. For example, many people have sleeves full of American traditional tattoos that don’t “go together” per se, but they still look like they were done with intention because they match.

Other people choose blackwork for their sleeves, or an arm full of florals. While these things aren’t all part of one piece in a traditional way, they still make up a whole.

Cohesive sleeves are based on one project. You come in with something in mind and the tattoo artist will come up with a single piece that covers your entire (or half) arm. While this takes more planning in the design stages, you don’t have the task of filling in all kinds of small leftover spaces from an eclectic sleeve.

Blackout sleeves are trendy right now, which is a full sleeve of black ink or black ink with white or skin-colored designs, like a reversal of the traditional tattoo sleeve.

Pick a Style and Artist

There are all kinds of tattoo styles to choose from. Because a tattoo sleeve is such a huge commitment, it’s important that you pick a style that you love. You’ll be seeing a lot of it.

American traditional and Japanese traditional are two popular styles for tattoo sleeves because they include bold lines and shading so you know that the sleeve will have longevity. Some people like sleeves full of tribal-style tattoos, or sacred geometry designs.

If you’re doing a completely cohesive piece, you’ll have one style for the entirety of the arm. You want to choose an artist that’s adept with that style, not just your favorite local artist who’s done other styles of work that you like.

Visit local shops for portfolio books and check out the Instagram accounts and galleries of local artists to see portfolios. These portfolios will help you decide who the right person for the job is.

Talk With Your Artist

Once you’ve chosen your artist, it’s time to have a consultation. Tattoo consultations are often free (though you will make a deposit that goes into the final cost of your tattoo. That deposit covers the time and effort your artist will put into the art in case you choose to not get the tattoo).

While you may come in with ideas, don’t come in with a sleeve that you want an exact copy of. Instead, come in with concepts and other drawings that have a similar feeling to what you have in mind.

An artist’s job is to make art, not copy. Your tattoo artist will make a design that suits your needs and works best with your form. Many will make small alterations on the day of. They know that a sleeve is a commitment.

Schedule Carefully

Some artists will give you the option of scheduling a sleeve for one day. If this happens to be your first tattoo, don’t choose this option. Even if you’re a tattoo veteran it might be too much for you.

It’s wise to schedule blocks in several-hour increments depending on your pain tolerance.

Talk to your artist about how they prefer to schedule large projects like this and make sure to discuss the cost. Because most artists charge by the hour, they may want you to pay as you go or they may want a larger upfront sum.

If you aren’t doing it all in one go, it’s best to give yourself time to heal between sessions (especially if you’re doing lines and color or shading on separate days).

Now That You Know How to Plan a Tattoo Sleeve, Get Started!

how to plan a sleeve tattooKnowing how to plan a tattoo sleeve is the first part of the battle. The actual planning? Much more difficult.

Find a great artist who can help you bring your tattoo sleeve ideas to life. We know planning a big tattoo is hard and we want to make sure that you get something that you love.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started.

To learn more, contact us here.

Henderson Tattoo Shop

Maui Tattoo Shop

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