That’s the main question tattoo artists and others on this site address. What is “traditional”? In short, it is a tattoo that can be considered as both “ethnic” (an interpretation of a tradition) and “modern,” i.e., a tattoo that was done in a place, by a person, by someone that is not considered a “traditional” tattoo artist.
In this article, you will find the basic definition of what constitutes a traditional tattoo. It is an excerpt from a tattoo definition manual published in the International Tattoo and Body Art International Magazine (January 2005) in which the writer states that “traditional” tattoo is “inherently traditional” and that it is therefore a very important part of the European tattoo culture since it is a part of the “traditional” culture of all ethnic groups that share the tattoo tradition.
The Traditional Invented by Europeans
Traditional European tattooing tradition started as long ago as the 18th century, since art historians have proven that tattoo “precedent” belongs to Europe in general, while tattooing tradition in the United States belongs to Australia and the West Indies. Today, Europe dominates in this field, although America is the current leader in tattoo culture worldwide.
Europe is the mother and the birthplace of tattooing.
The early tattooists (called mongoloids in Latin) in the Balkans used only an ink on a piece of wood or plastic, although some mongoloids from China made their way to Europe in the 19th century from Africa and then traveled to North America.
Europeans also introduced a technique of tattooing, called “tapping,” to their tattooing traditions (known in the tattooing tradition as “tattooing in a nutshell”) from the 8th century by which the artist’s image was painted on the forehead of a patient.
Modern tattooing is an invention of Europe, which arose in the 19th century from the introduction of medical technology such as the printing press. This invention allowed men of upper class to become professional tattoo artists at the push of a button. This invention also allowed the men of upper class in Europe to gain valuable financial assets since now men could sell their body art to other men with superior financial powers in Europe, especially in the cities.
Europe also contributed to the modern tattoo industry and culture today, as it supplied the world’s best tattoo art techniques and the best equipment for tattooing.
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