Inspired by U.S. pop culture, young Iraqis are lining up to get inked across the country.
Looking to international soccer players and American actors, tattoo artists like Ali al-Washam say things started to change after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
And now business is booming.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) TATTOO ARTIST, ALI AL-WASHAM, SAYING:
"Tattoos used to be done in a traditional way. After U.S. troops entered the country and due to communication between tattoo craftsmen, barbers, and American forces, the idea of the tattoo developed and spread more among Iraqis. In this way, new tools, colours and techniques started to evolve."
Before the invasion, Iraqis used to have more traditional tattoos like these.
They were drawn with simple tools, using a pin or needle and ash.
This old woman from Najaf says they once used soot and sewing needles to beautify their hands and faces.
But it's not just about beauty, say local artists.
Tattoos also have more practical meanings for some Iraqis.
A lasting reminder of the Iraq war.
As the country descended into violent sectarian chaos after 2003 -
Some Iraqis inked their names on their arms in order to be identified in case they were killed in an attack.
Others cover injuries or surgery scars.
U.S. forces leaving behind a different kind of lasting legacy.