|Photo © Mattia Passarini - All Rights Reserved|
The recent tattoo popularity in the Western world most probably has its origins in Egypt during the time of the construction of the great pyramids. When the Egyptians expanded their empire, the art of tattooing spread as well. The civilizations of Crete, Greece, Persia, and Arabia picked up and expanded the art form, and China joined in around 2000 BC.*
Inked Faces by Mattia Passarini is a gallery featuring various tribal individuals sporting intricate tattoos. I found the most extreme to be the Ramnami of Chhattisgarh who tattoo the word "Ram" on their whole bodies. Also included are the Konya, the Khonds, the Baga, the Apatani; all from the far reaches of India. The Chin of Burma, the Li and Doling of China, and the Lawae of Laos are also represented.
* This website has a thorough history of tattoos.