Both ancient art and archaeological finds of possible tattoo tools suggest tattooing was practiced by the Upper Paleolithic period in Europe.However, direct evidence for tattooing on mummified human skin extends only to the 4th millennium BC.Cemeteries throughout the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang of western China) including the sites of Qäwrighul, Yanghai, Shengjindian, Zaghunluq, and Qizilchoqa have revealed several tattooed mummies with Western Asian/Indo-European physical traits and cultural materials. However, tattoos seem to have remained a part of southern culture.
Other tattooed mummies have been recovered from at least 49 archaeological sites including locations in Greenland, Alaska, Siberia, Mongolia, western China, Egypt, Sudan, the Philippines, and the Andes.
In India, tattoos have many names, including tarazwa, gondan, and ungkala.
Several Indonesian tribes have in their tattooing culture.
In Southern India, permanent tattoos are called pachakuthu.
It was very common in South India, especially Tamil Nadu, before 1980.