China ruled Vietnam from 200 B.C. to 939 A.D. Because of this millennia of rule by the Chinese, Vietnamese culture resembles the culture of China in many ways.
However, the Vietnamese managed to retain many aspects of their own culture, including their own language, religious beliefs, and customs.
One of these customs was the practice of tattooing their bodies. Elaborate tattoos communicated religious beliefs and teachings, as well as identified the ranks of some members of society.
The Vietnamese gained their independence from China in 938 A.D. Under the leadership of a Vietnamese general by the name of Ngo Quyen, the Vietnamese defeated a fleet of Chinese warships, which led to the eventual overthrowing of Chinese rule in Vietnam.