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Tattoo Related Terms

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Tapered Lines: (see Sculpted Lines) (courtesy of Shane Hall)

Tebori: This is a Japanese technique of tattooing where needles are affixed to a rod and then the tattoo is applied by running the stick along the hand. This is a very, very difficult method of tattooing and you should make sure that you are going to a master if you want one.

Texture: Surface covering of an element within an image that makes it look like what it is, i.e. wood, stone, roots, fluid, etc. Textures can be greatly used to form contrast within an image, therefore making it easier for the brain to comprehend what it's seeing. Smooth textures against rough, intricate against smooth, and many other combinations can be used to gain this effect. This technique is used in many different styles but is predominant in bio-mech/ bio-organic designs.

Totem: A symbol that one wishes to either take on the characteristics of or that they believe will aid them in some way. These are, as used by many Native Americans, typically animals of great skill, strength, or cunning. (see Native American, Celtic)

Traditional: (see Old School)

Tree: Tree tattoos can have many different meanings.

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Family Tree: This tree will generally have a family name and/or names of many members worked into the tree.

Dead, uprooted Tree: This can represent death, a feeling of separation, emptiness, or an affection for fall.

Human Faced Tree: These represent nature being conscious and alive. There are also old beliefs that our ancestors' spirits reside in the trees around us.

Natural: A tree in it's natural state can represent growth or maybe an attachment to nature itself.

Seasonal: A tree can represent the changes of life, or maybe you truly love the seasons. Showing all of the seasons within one tree can be a way of displaying this.

Tree of Life: This tree represents the cycle of nature. It is generally a cirular based pattern with the canopy knotting into the root base.

Tribal Art: True tribal art tattoos derive from ancient civilizations such as the Maori, Samoan, the Iban of Borneo, many African tribes (more scarification than tattooing), some North and South American Indian tribes, and many others that I'm sure that I am forgetting. Many of these cultures are still alive today. These markings told tribes who belonged to which tribe (Much like the kilts of Ireland and Scotland identified clans.). Sometimes they were a sign of stature within a tribe as well. Tribal tattoos vary greatly in style and placement. They were almost always done in black since soot or lampblack were a common ingredient between the different tribes. You can find more information written by Ray Reasoner here. (also see Native American)

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