If a child, say, a white, ten year old boy, got a big tattoo on his upper back (read: shoulder to shoulder), would it change a lot as the child grew into adulthood?

Since the early-ish industrial society suffers a distinct lack of tattoo machines, the application of this tattoo would therefore need to be applied by traditional means (either by inserting pigments (e.g. coal, ashes) into open wounds, or with the help of "needles" from animal bones/sticks/whatever (edit: or metal needles, as user Dewi Morgan pointed out, thank you), not sure how much that influences the answer.

Ideally, it would change as little as possible, or with minor breaks, tears, etc., that could be solved by a later retouching.

Possible problems

  • As the back gets bigger, the skin needs to get bigger as well - it needs to grow somehow, somewhere.
    • Would it move around and "travel" like smaller scars do? To where? How far?
    • Would it simply stretch and get bigger, or stretch and tear, as new patches of skin get build inside of the tattooed area?

Optional questions: What about the colour?

  • I assume it will fade, as all tattoos do, correct me if I'm wrong, - though I'm not sure how it works coupled with the wound coloring.
  • Any ideas if it would change colour? Ink gets green, since the black is made from it, but natural black pigments tend to be black if I'm not mistaken?

This tatoo should be a part of a child's rite of passage of a culture that currently lives in alpine-like mountains. Is it viable? If the tattoo gets derpy, skewed, or changes too much, it would not make sense and therefore can't be a part of the ritual.

Thank you for your answers!

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Hi, welcome to the Exchange. This isn't really a worldbuilding question, since you're asking a question about something that's happening right now in the real world, rather than a world building question. As far as your question goes, have a look at this: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blaschko%27s_lines $\endgroup$ May 7, 2019 at 17:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Worldbuilding.SE! We're glad you could join us! When you have a moment, please click here to learn more about our culture and take our tour. Please provide more specific information because, not surprisingly, all skin is not made the same. Which human race are we talking about? Boy or girl? Exactly what age did they get the tattoo? What specific year should we use for technology assessment? Are we to use the best tech of the day, or "prison tech?" How complex is the tatoo? How fine are the lines? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 7, 2019 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ Why was this question closed? The help center states, "World building includes geography, culture and creatures for the world." The old Help center explained that the affects of technology on a culture was also on-topic (is that no longer the case?) Can any of the close voters explain why they think this is OT:NAW? I'm going to VTR. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 7, 2019 at 19:01
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    $\begingroup$ Also, please remember that a VTC is NOT a super-downvote. If the question lacks research, that's a reason to downvote, not close. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    May 7, 2019 at 19:02
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, I guess I see where you guys are coming from! Thanks for the answers anyways. I should have probably specified but it is a world building question, since the tattoo should be a part of a rite of passage, during which children are pledged to a god and those from certain parts of the social hiearchy get a symbol of said god tattooed. The reason why I'm asking is, because I want to know if it makes sense. Should the tattoo more or less stay the same, it does - later in adulthood it can be renewed as needed. If it changes a lot and weirdly, it does not and cannot be a part of the rite. $\endgroup$ May 7, 2019 at 19:44


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