Modern tattoo equipment is a simple combination of needles and tubes that pierce the skin quickly with minimal pain. Traditional tattoo equipment, unlike that used today, was more archaic, and tattooing was a more painful process.
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Wood and Bronze
Found in Abydos, Egypt, early tattoo equipment dates back to 3,000 B.C.E. and was made of wood and bronze. The wooden equipment was a long stick attached to a sharp end, while the bronze resembled long needles.
Trebori needles were used for Japanese hand tattooing. Used even today by Trebori masters, these needles are dipped in inks and rhythmically tapped into the skin to create a design.
The Au is a traditional Polynesian comb of boar's tooth needles held together with a turtle shell and a wooden handle. The inks for this form of tattooing were made from soot and water.
Sak Yant is Thai for "magic tattoo" and is performed by monks using a sharpened bamboo stick (mai sak) and a metal spike (khem sak).
Maori Bone Chisel
The Maori people of New Zealand used a bone chisel to cut into the skin. Once the lines were cut, the chisel was coated with ink and tapped into the skin where the cuts were made.
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