Tattoo Designs, Tattoos, Tribal Tattoos. Choosing Your Tattoo Design Has Never Been Easier

Chinese word for tattooing is Ci Shen or Wen Shen, which literally means “to puncture/pattern the body”. The art itself has been known in China since the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. -220 A.D.), but has been considered “barbaric” throughout the ages. Indeed, it is only unjust to attribute Ci Shen to the Chinese people, since tattoos were reserved for minorities (the ruling Han Dynasty considered themselves the only “real” Chinese people) and criminals. That is the reason why Chinese tattoo patterns have been more popular in Europe and the USA than in China itself and that is also the reason why tattooing in China is still being observed through a veil of prejudice.

Many are the reasons for negative approach to the art of tattoo tatuagem no porto. During the Confucian times, people believed that the body had to remain “pure”. Tattoos were viewed as a type of body modification and were therefore undesired.

According to tattoo expert Lars Krutak:

“With the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 the Communist government implemented policies of pochu mixin (“eradicating superstitions”) and yifengyisu (“changing prevailing customs and transforming social traditions”). These laws were aimed at China’s fifty-six ethnic minority groups and ultimately led to the demise of tattooing amongst those peoples who practiced the indelible art including the Li of Hainan Island and the Dulong of Yunnan.”

Tattoo tradition of the aboriginal and “minority” groups in China has been vanishing for years, due to cultural and religious changes that have been imposed to these ethnic groups. In most cases, all that is left of the original symbolism is kept with elderly tribe members, but there are cases when a young person gets a traditional tattoo – in order to preserve the old tradition. The Paiwan people are an exception, since tattoos among this ethnic group are a sign of nobility.

Legends and Origins

Many Chinese classical novels mention tattooed characters. The most famous legend speaks of Chinese general Yueh Fei, who served the South Song Dynasty. The general was betrayed by the field marshal during a battle against a northern foe and he returned home in protest. There he met his parents’ rage. He was to serve his country, that was his duty, his mother said. Thereby she fetched her sewing needle and tattooed four Chinese characters on his back – “jin zhong bao guo”. Translated literally, this means: “To serve your country with ultimate loyalty”.

Similar to Japanese Yakuzas (or Gokud?, members of organized crime circles in Japan), the Chinese also used tattoos to mark their criminals. According to the Han Shu (“Treatise on Punishment”) text (7th century A.D.), there were around five hundred crimes punishable by tattoos, including adultery and robbery. The criminals had tattoos on their faces, which showed their shame. After the tattooing was over, they were exiled. This punishment was called Ci Pei (Tattoo Exile)