New Archaeological Discoveries
The oldest known tattoo art was found in the right arm of an ancient Egyptian mummy.
Scientists have discovered the world’s oldest known tattoo art on an ancient Egyptian mummy, which has been exhibited for 100 years at the British Museum.
Previously, academics and museum visitors saw only pale and dark spots on the mummified man’s right arm. However, recent infrared research has revealed that traces are actually tattoos depicting two animals – a giant wild bull and a wild North African goat-like creature.
Probably the reason this man had these tattoos was to highlight his power and masculinity. In all over the ancient world, both animal species were often associated with male power, masculinity, fertility, and creation.
These two animals, the right arm of the man about 5,200 years ago was processed as a tattoo. Buzdam Ötzi, who lived in the Alps and lived in the Bronze Age, is also known as the oldest owner of the tattoo. However, Ötzi’s body had tattoos of abstract dots and lines. On the other hand, this ancient Egyptian mummy carries the oldest known tattoo pattern in the figurative art form.
Analysis of the art of tattooing on the mummy shows that it is made with a carbon-based pigment (probably is).
The big one of the two tattoos is a giant wild bull, an extinct species now depicted. These bulls were animals that were feared, admired and often worshiped all over the ancient world.
These were probably the origins of the great bull myths in the ancient world: the Cretan Minotaur, the Mesopotamian Paradise Bull, and the Anatolian bull-shaped God of Storms. In ancient Egyptian religion, there were three bulls, each symbolizing fertility or war.
The other tattoo-like goat-like wax in the wax was probably Berber sheep and related to masculinity.
In many parts of the ancient world, goat-like creatures were often associated with male sexuality. In mythology in Greece, the wild god was usually the erotic Pan. In ancient Egypt, the coach was sometimes perceived as a primitive power in connection with birth. Indeed, there were three Egyptian sheep gods associated with fertility and creation.
The wild bull and the Barbary sheep tattooed mummy lived before a time when a fully developed hieroglyphic script existed, and therefore there was no written record of the beliefs of their time. But then Egypt and other belief systems and mythologies were well documented.
Scientists also discovered a second ancient Egyptian with tattoos dating from the same period. This second mummy was a woman and had more abstract designs. He had a series of small S-shaped markings on his right shoulder and a line with a slightly curved upper end on his right arm. This motif on his arm could be the symbol of a formal authority.
Both tattooed men and women were naturally mummified in extra dry climates.
Museums in Egypt, Canada and Italy have at least 14 earlier early Egyptian mummies, some of which seem to be examined by infrared imaging devices in the hope of discovering much earlier tattoos.
Before the discovery, the oldest known tattoo of ancient Egypt dates back to 2000 BC, 1.200 years after the newly discovered tattooed mummy.
History of tattoo
As in modern times, tattoos are a truly global phenomenon in the old world. Though the discoveries at the British Museum and the tattoos of Buzadam Ötzi were the oldest known tattoos, the invention of tattooing probably happened earlier in the world.
There are some signs from the pottery figures that the art form may have been practiced in Japan about 12,000 years ago. Certainly known tattoos were known in China 4000 years ago and in South America at least 1,500 years ago. There are also traces of tattoos in the 40,000-year-old Stone Age European figurines.
Tattoos on the newly discovered Ancient Egyptian mummies make a fascinating contribution to the history of the artistic tradition around the world.
The mummies were found 100 years ago in a cemetery in Gebelein, south of Egypt, which dates back to the Dynasty.