Chinese tattoo [Wen Shen]
Tattoo in the Chinese History
Tattoo is called "Wen Shen" or "Ci Shen" in Chinese. The term means literally "puncture the body".
Tattoo has been known and practised in China for many years. But it was never considered to be something artistic, desirable, or even acceptable. A commonly held notion is that one"s body is a precious gift from the parent and therefore should never be abused or defaced by a tattoo.
Many years ago, when a court finds a person guilty of a severe crime, it may order a tattoo be placed on his face, and bannishes him to a far-way place for a number of years. The tattoo on the face permantly marks the person as a criminal. The two-prone punishment is called "ci pei" (tattoo/exile).
In the present, tattoo are more likely to be used by members of the underground criminal society than ordinary citizens.
Examples of tattoo
The most famous tattoo in Chinese history Yueh Fei was a famous general in the South Song Dynystry. When he served under a Field Marshal defending the enemy from the North, The Field Marshal went over to the enemy. Disgusted, Yueh Fei resigned and returned home to care for his mother.
His mother was displeased, and lectured him that a soldier"s first duty is loyalty to his country. To be sure that the admonition will never be forgoetten, she tattoo the words on his back!
The first word, from the left, means the most, the ultimate.
The second word means loyalty.
The third word means to serve.
The fourth word means country.