those are gorgeous! congratulations!
interesting bit of lore about tattoos....
Did you know that they were originally developed by ancient asian civilazations in order to identify what kind of warrior they are? It's true.
It is a common bit of knowledge that amongst warriors ancient and modern, that if you are wearing a weapon, concealed or otherwise, your opponent is going to assume that you know how to use it with great proficiency.
But what if your weapons are are your hands and feet such as in martial arts? How do you know what they are profiecient or expert or beginner in just by looking at them? Tattoos! The partial and full sleeves of tattoos done on arms and legs depict the types and styles of martial arts that particular warrior is good or even deadly at.
In ancient spirituality tattoos depict the same kind of proficiency and expetise but for different reasons. Druids and Celtic Shaman often would receive a tattoo for every stage of promotion through the ranks. A female novice that achieves alcolyte and then Priestess would receive a blue crescent moon tattooed upon her forehead to denote her achievement and status. Males and females would get them in a variety of types all over the body to denote specializations, proficiency and expertise as healers, seers, counselors, scribes, bards, historians and scientists.
In Native American culture, tattoos often not only depict what tribe and nation you belong to, or what your specialization is such as Shaman, Elder, Medicine Woman, Tenderfoot, Dog Soldier, Warrior; but also what your totem spirit guide animals are as well. And if they received significant information during Journey Quest visions, then those also would be depicted in tattoos depending on the Tribe. Tuetonic and New Zealand cultures also use tattoos in the same way as Native Americans. Middle Eastern cultures often use a temporary form of body ink art with dyes made from Henna that fade over 4 to 6 weeks. They use them very much like Native Americans do but with not only differences in the type and style of application, but would change from holiday to holiday, and ceremony to ceremony depicting what was pertinent to the season and occasion.
Seafaring men adopted body ink art as a way to ward off the evil spirits of the sea for superstitious protection. Historical documentation puts this practice as far back as the 15th century AD, when ships explored farther than they had before and met Asian cultures. It was these seafarers that brought tattoo art to South America and the Carribean and Pacific Basins. Cultures from these climes quickly adopted the art form in the same way the seafarers used them, to ward off evil as protection. Up till then they simply used paint made from natural substances readily found in their envirionments, but with the introduction of tattoos, they became symbols of status, rank and wealth. A man or woman could be executed for having a tattoo that was above their station in life.
This is but a brief history of tattoos as an art form. But there are many really good books out there that delve into this topic deeply should you be interested in knowing more. And if your of a bent that would prefer to be entertained instead of educated, then I highly suggest a trip through Ray Bradbury's SciFi classic book, "The Illustrated Man."