"The art of tattooing {in India] is an important folk art form found all over the developed against the background of religion, ritual and belief....Those who follow tattooing as a profession in India do it as a part-time occupation...go (ing) around the countryside between March and July...a time of leisure..."
South East Asia Folklore, 1998 p 594

Ancient Mediterranean/Europe/North America
"As this collection of essays attests...the practice [of tattooing] was not imported to the West as a...colonial encounter with 'primitives' but has been a permanent cultural feature of the ancient Mediterranean and of Europe and North America. Tattooing is a universal and age old phenomenon with many functions: decorative, religious, magical, punitive, and as an indication of identity, status, occupation or ownership...This at least in part gave rise to the adoption of...tattoos as a badge of honor."
Jane Caplan, Written on the Body, P18

Late Roman Empire
"There is for some a lingering sense that tattoos are signs of degradation, criminality and deviance, and thus their appearance is deemed an assault on the viewer."
Mark Gustafson, The Tattoo in the Late Roman Empire, Written on the Body OpCit p17