General Question

BarefootChris's avatar

Can someone tell me what sort of ink is used in this tattoo?

Asked by BarefootChris (118points) October 7th, 2010

So I just heard about this amazing game coming out sometimes next year called “From Dust.” Long story short, it’s a god-genre game where you’re put in charge of the fate of some islanders.

I’ve been interested for a while in more primitive cultures, and would like to incorporate some aspects of them into my life. Can anyone tell me the real-life ink or dye that would be used to make similar designs to the one’s featured in this picture?

I tried googling tribal tattoos to see if I could track down some old cultures with similar designs, but all I found was designs for contemporary “tribal” tattoos. I want the authentic stuff here! :)

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8 Answers

Seek's avatar

Well, I don’t know much about many tribal cultures, but it’s definitely possible to get hold of indigo, and bring back the old Celtic tradition of woading.

Randy's avatar

Most likely, that’s supposed to be a design of an “ash” tattoo. Before modern and even some forms of ancient tattooing was invented, people used to cut themeless and fill the wound with ash or some other kind of dirt or dust after mixing it with water to make a tattoo. Sometimes they used ashes of the dead.

Obviously, they didn’t look that good in real life but they were used in rituals and as a status. You can get ink in just about any color you want these days but most artists have guidelines for themselves on deciding what colors can be used and still look good on a certain type of skin.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think in the picture those are tattoos. I do know that before tattoos started in certain parts of the world, scarification was a kind of ‘tattooing’. Here you will find the answer to your question, I hope.

fundevogel's avatar

I’m with @Simone_De_Beauvoir. Light tattoos are notoriously hard to make work, especially on dark skin. The pigment of the ink is overwhelmed by natural skin pigments making it barely visible or disappear entirely. The best success is reported with very light skin, which is of course very subtle. The thing is white ink can also get discolored which is something no one wants for their tattoo.

The markings in the picture look like body paint. According to this site white paint was made with white clay.

Plucky's avatar

They don’t look like tattoos to me. Looks like some type of dye ..most likely natural (like mud, clay, etc).

downtide's avatar

I think it’s a clay-based “body paint”.

BarefootChris's avatar

Thanks for all the responses guys! It does make sense that it is more of a body paint than a tattoo. Definitely going to look into the body paint and woading.

‘ppreciate it! : )

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