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This technique was primarily used by potters who would glaze their wares and then scratch a design into it.In ancient times graffiti were carved on walls with a sharp object, although sometimes chalk or coal were used.Wet with cool dew drops fragrant with perfume from the flowers came the gentle breeze jasmine and water lily dance in the spring sunshine side-long glances of the golden hued ladies stab into my thoughts heaven itself cannot take my mind as it has been captivated by one lass among the five hundred I have seen here.Among the ancient political graffiti examples were Arab satirist poems.The first known example of "modern style" graffiti survives in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey).
Historic forms of graffiti have helped gain understanding into the lifestyles and languages of past cultures.
"Graffiti" is applied in art history to works of art produced by scratching a design into a surface.
A related term is "sgraffito", which involves scratching through one layer of pigment to reveal another beneath it.
In most countries, marking or painting property without the property owner's permission is considered defacement and vandalism, which is a punishable crime.
Graffiti may also express underlying social and political messages and a whole genre of artistic expression is based upon spray paint graffiti styles.