THE HISTORY OF TATTOO IS HARD TO RECOUNT EVENTHOUGH IT’S AN ANCESTRAL PRACTICE WE CAN’T PLACE IT’S ORIGIN.
Tattoo when it was included in an ancestral ritual practice had a clear and determined social meaning. It would give each and every one it’s place in the social organization. Since the 18tn century (approximatly the date of its reintroduction in europe by explorators) tattoo had a double effect of inclusion and exclusion. It enabled inclusion in the frame of small groups (army, criminals, prostitution) and a social marginalization precisly for the reasons of stigmatizations of the groups it belong.
The brand new popularity of body marks annhiliated the consequence of exclusion and maginalization. It will last only the effects of inclusion and integration in some groups.
I think it’s a come back to a meaning more initiating of those practice into a small frame. Mrks being at the same time invested with meaning for the individual who practices it and very common in a general way for the others. If tattoo goes into that direction it woulkd have been those few last years of an instituating ritual more than a savage one.
As bastide says it, tattoo is ritual process that reminds an archetypal form of rite of passage. If in the begining tattoo was a savage experience, a sacred lived in an individual way isolated in the social anomy. It is now more and more framed and suppoerted by a collectivity. A ritual is savage if it not done by a large part of the culture.
A recent advertise for the beer black label is a godd exemple for at the same time a come back quite explicite to the initiatic motive of the tattoo and it’s diffusion ina large scale. We can see in this ad’ three young men leaving for new-york, who decide to bring back from their trip a souvenir in the shape of a tattoo. Their tattoo becomes the sign of their adventure and make their friendship visible.
This ad’ take the same structure of an initiation story as discribed in the Eliade with: a trip, a test (here the tattoo) the revelation and the come back home. One of the characters even says to the one that hesitate “if you don’t try it you will never know” as if the tattoo would litteraly reveal to them something.
This uncommon exemple reveals the acknowledgment of this phenomenon of body marks in the culture of the youth and its use at commercial means. Further more the company explains the tattoo by an original myth. However on the contrary of the collective myth of the traditional societies that had the role to discribe the history of a people, the myth discribed here depict is of individual nature because it tells the story of a life.
If it was a savage ritual, tattoo is more and more afirm as an established ritual (in proportion to its expostition).
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