The earliest traces of tattooing were discovered in Thailand, in the form of carvings on bones from Neolithic times. Originally, tattooing was believed to have been a secret weapon used by some tribes to scare away enemies. It was also used to mark prisoners of war, in the belief that tattoos helped shape a person’s character.
As tattooing spread to other countries, the design choices changed. Instead of marking prisoners of war, more tattoo artists were putting tattoos on their bodies to emulate soldiers who had fought in wars.
Of all the types of body art, tattooing has been accepted by mainstream society the most. Within certain cultures, it was even considered an appropriate gift or form of payment for business transactions. According to researchers, however, there are very few cases of tattoos being used as a form of social status in the Western world.