4 Methods of Tattooing from History

The striking stick would then hit the needle down into the skin...

We’ve featured many posts about tattoos in the past, but we’ve never actually shown the many methods of tattooing. In this post we will look at 4 examples of tattooing throughout history.

So the first on our list will be the most common to the reader….

Tattoo Machine


The tattoo machine works by having a needle thrust inside a tiny tube, powered by a motor, into the skin at hundreds of times per second. It is the quickest and arguably most accurate method. The artist can change the type of needle depending on what type of work is being done such as shading and outlining. While it is the easiest method tattoo artists have to hold a license in order to operate and handle one.

tattoo machine

 

Metal Tube


Metal tube tattooing is a forefather to the machine. It originates from the cultures of south-east Asia and was used to create Buddhist images and texts. With a similar principle to a tattoo gun the metal tube technique uses a tube, usually made of brass with a needle running through it. It is then dipped in ink and struck down manually into the skin much like a sewing machine.

metal tube tattooing

 

Bamboo Handle


The bamboo handle is perhaps most famous for the all body tattoos popular in Japan and with the Yakuza. It was also the method used in other nations such as China whose tribes would often create a parlour like experience with Erhu music playing (instead of heavy metal). The bamboo handle was a vicious instrument which has two dozen needles attached to one end. Unlike the other method where the needle would come directly down the bamboo artist would push under the skin at an angle. This meant it was not only more painful but also harder to create an image. Recipients would often require many sitting and considering full body was popular the process must have been never-ending.

Bamboo tattoo

 

Rake and Striking Stick


This technique originates in tattoo mecca of the south pacific and Polynesia. The needle would be at a right angle from the stick it was attached to. The striking stick would then hit the needle down into the skin puncturing and leaving the ink. This meant it was a two-man job with one person stretching the skin and the artist themselves. It is one of one of the oldest methods but has arguably made some of the most complex and beautiful tattoos.

Tap Stick tattoo

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