By: Michael A Harris


3000 B.C.- A frozen man deemed “Otzi the Iceman” was discovered with over 40 tattoos and branding. It is one of the earliest documentations of body modification [3]


583 B.C.- The bible states in Leviticus 19:28 “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.” It is significant because of the religious take on body modification.[4]


600 B.C- A punishment for criminals in India was to cut off the front of the nose. To fix this, Indian people used the forehead skin to reconstruct the mutilated nose. It is an early documentation of reconstructive surgery. [1]


13th Century- The New Zealand native people knows as the Māori tattooed(known as “Ta-Moko”) their faces and body as a mark of identity and social standing. It is a very well documented and integral part of the Maori tribes.[6]


19th Century- African tribes use scarification as a right of passage of birth and adulthood. It is a major part of African culture.[2]


December 8, 1891- Samuel F. OReilley patents the tattoo machine. Its design has been modified over the years and now is standard for tattoo artists. [8]


1943- Nazis tattoo identification numbers on Jewish prisoners. It violated their bodies and is a well known story of the tragic events of the Holocaust.[12]


1992- The Association of Professional Tattooists was founded. It created certification and regulation for tattooists. It created a universal safety standard and licensing for artists.[9]


1994- The Association of Professional Piercers was founded. It created certification and regulation for piercers. It created a universal safety standard and licensing for piercers.[10]


2001- The model website Suicidegirls was created celebrating alternative beauty. It has since created a following and community of alternative lifestyle celebrating tattoos and piercings. There are 2,518 models and 5,585,881 fans.[5]


2006- The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes body modification as a world record. The first record was set by Elaine Davidson for “most pierced woman” with 4,225 piercings. This event signifies the culture impact of fame of body modification [7]



1: “Plastic Surgery – Aesthetic”


3- “Ötzi: Iceman’s Tattoos Were Born In Fire”

4- “What the Bible Says about Tattoos”

5- “Suicidegirls”

6-”Ta Moko”‎

7- “Most piercings in a lifetime (female)”

8- “S. F. OREILLY. TATTOOING MACHINE,-No. 464,801. Patented Dec. 8, 1891”.

9- “Alliance of Professional Tattooists”

10- “History of APP”‎