Body Art Banning.

Essay by ravingangel2501University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2003

download word file, 9 pages 3.0

In today's society, the most prominent form of body modification is tattooing. Tattoos can range from large and obvious to small and personal (Body Modification). It is believed that even the iceman that was discovered in the Alps in 1991 had tattoos. Cultures cite different reasons for body adornment and celebrate the body as a ground on which all cultures inscribe significant meanings. Body modification has long been a part of non-Christian cultures as a positive mark of identity (Tattoos). But while many cultures and religions embraced body art as statements of devotion or status, some went as far as forbidding it. For instance, the Koran, the holy book of Islam, forbids marking the body, and the Christian Bible associates body markings with sin. Attempts to eradicate body-marking practices were numerous. Pope Hadrian I decreed a ban on tattooing in 787 A.D. and Constantine prohibited tattooing, for it was seen as altering God's work (Tattoo).

Nevertheless, historically tattoos still remained a big part of many cultures. Ancient Egyptian mummies had tattoos, as well as the Incas, Mayans, and Aztecs. The Vikings tattooed family crests and tribal symbols on their bodies, and Romans used tattoos to identify their criminals and slaves. Tattoos have even marked British Army deserters, U.S. convicts, and others as identification. Martin Hildebrandt was the first professional tattoo artist in the U.S., and tattooed soldiers on both sides in the American Civil War. The invention of the first electric tattoo needle came in 1891 in New York City and was made by modifying Thomas Edison's electric engraving pen. This of course made tattooing cheaper and faster. Since then tattoos have gained popularity, particularly since the 1960's (History of Tattoos). Lately there has been some turmoil between body art such as tattoos and body piercings...