On September 17, 1891, the Olean Weekly Democrat quoted an article from Popular Science about how tattoos were done in Abyssinia (what is now Ethiopia). I don’t think that they were talking about the West in the text that I’ve highlighted, but in 1891, they may well have been because during that decade it was very chic among the “upper society classes“.
Painting is temporary and needs frequent renewal. In many parts of the world we find color designs, elaborate, curious, sometimes beautiful, made permanent by tattooing. The pattern and the method vary greatly with locality. In some regions men only tattoo, in others only women, in others both sexes. Here it is confined to the nobles, there to the servile. In Abyssinian women chiefly tattoo. The whole is covered, even the gums are painted blue. An old woman operator’s tools were a pot of blacking (charred herbs), a large iron pin, bits of hollow cane and pieces of straw — these last for pencils. She marks out the design, prices dots with the pin loaded with the dye, and goes over it repeatedly. To allay the subsequent irritation it is plastered with a green poultice; the scab must not be picked off.