Tattooing is one of the oldest ways of decorating the body. It is usually done by puncturing the skin with a sharp needle to make a pattern or picture and then rubbing a colored dye into the holes. Ancient Egyptians and Chinese, Red Indians, Maoris, sailors and many other kinds of people were traditionally tattooed.
It is generally done now for decoration but it used to be done for religious reasons, or to show to which tribe a man belonged.
In some groups women who had lost their husbands had their tongues tattooed as a way of showing their grief to others.