In case you hadn’t noticed we’re big fans of getting inked here on SBSG. We’ve already shown you these 24 fantastical cat tattoos, as well as some rather unfortunate Chinese tats that make no sense at all before plunging your further into dismay at 32 examples of inkwork that will make you lose faith in humanity before hopefully restoring your resolve with 38 of the very best.
But that all have one common theme (regardless of how great or shocking they are) they’re all contemporary examples of tattoo art. The real question is, where did todays tattoo artists get their inspiration from? Who influenced their designs? And is the “new” truly groundbreaking or merely a homage for the tattoo masters of yesteryear?
To answer the question truthfully, you’d have to go back to around the Neolithic times. The earliest example of a tattoo goes as far back as the fifth millennium BC when an Iceman was discovered in the Alps with 50+ tattoos in total across their spine, knee and even right ankle. They were simple dots or markings if you will, but evidence nonetheless that man has been styling his body for centuries.
It would be nice if we could bring you a selection of the very best Neolithic tattoo trends, but let’s face it that’s going to be a tough ask (even for us.) So we’ve selected some of the most interesting, extensive and iconic ink work from as far back as the 1920′s along with the genuine characters who underwent hours of pain in the chair.
Who knows, you might even find your Great Great Great Grandfather in amongst them all!
Via Vintage Tattoo