In ancient cultures, tattoos were not just ornamental body paint inserted under the skin, they were also a form of communication. Tattoos told a story of coming into manhood, of nubile women, of war or knowledge, of criminals and slaves. They solidified an identity within a community and a community to itself. Through the effacing effects of colonialism, they disappeared, only to return in the form of a freer expression of fashion or individualism, but they still fascinate for their art and their storytelling. Here are some of the most amazing tattoos.