The New Student's Reference Work/Tattooing
Tattoo′ing, a widespread custom among savages of marking the skin with figures by means of slight cuts or punctures and a coloring matter. It is almost universal in the islands of the Pacific. New Zealanders often cover the whole face and sometimes the chest, arms and other parts of the body with tattoo patterns. A boy is tattooed on entering manhood; the operation causes considerable pain but is born unflinchingly. A bone, edged with teeth, is dipped in a thick mixture of charcoal and water, and hammered through the skin by means of a piece of wood. The marks last for life, and look black on a brown skin, but are dark-blue on the skin of a European or American. Tattooing seems to have been common among the nations with whom the Jews came in contact, as they were forbidden to practice it. The Bedouin Arabs and many tribes of American Indians tattoo, and sailors all over the world print anchors and other marks on their arms.