I was watching the “Ancient Ink” show (for the third time) the other day, and musing about how we humans seem eternally determined to decorate ourselves permanently.
Some of the methods ancient people used to decorate their bodies were incredibly painful (for that matter, some of the methods modern people use to decorate their bodies must hurt just as much). Cutting the skin and rubbing ashes into it, sewing lines under the skin with sinew coated with soot, branding, pounding pigment into the skin… yes, people have to be very determined and very brave.
And yet there’s evidence that our ancestors did it on a regular basis. We don’t know for sure why, or whether the designs were purely decorative, ceremonial or or medicinal purposes. We don’t know why paint, beads, feathers, etc were not enough and why a permanent mark was the only possible choice. Speaking as someone who wanted a tattoo for 30 years before actually getting one, I can say that the urge to get these permanent decorations can be both strong and lasting.
People in the modern world get tattoos to decorate, to acknowledge life milestones, to show membership in a group, for protection and to demonstrate our spiritual beliefs. We don’t want temporary decorations–we want something that will for all intents and purposes last forever.
Watching the host of “Ancient Ink” and the other people in the documentary go through the most painful processes to pay homage to human tradition gave me the sense that as the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.I hope you'll submit my posts to your favorite social media sites. Just don't "submit" them to your own site pretending to be yours. Thanks!