New Archaeological Discoveries

The oldest known tattoo art was found in the right arm of an ancient Egyptian mummy.

The Oldest Tattoo Art Found in the Egyptian Mummy - image tatt1 on

The researchers discovered tattoos on two natural mummies dating from 3351 to 3017 BC. C: British Museum

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.

The Oldest Tattoo Art Found in the Egyptian Mummy - image tatt2 on

The male mummy, also known as Gebelein Man, was exhibited in the museum for 100 years. C: British Museum

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 Oldest Tattoo Art Found in the Egyptian Mummy - image tatt3 on

Tattoos depicting a wild bull and a barber’s sheep on a male mummy’s arm. C: British Museum

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.

The Oldest Tattoo Art Found in the Egyptian Mummy - image tatt4 on

The female mummy, also known as Gebelein Woman, also has tattoos. C: British Museum

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.

The Oldest Tattoo Art Found in the Egyptian Mummy - image tatt5 on

Tattoo in the form of a line with a curved upper end. C: British Museum

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.

The Oldest Tattoo Art Found in the Egyptian Mummy - image tatt7 on

S-shaped tattoos on woman’s arm. C: British Museum

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.

The Oldest Tattoo Art Found in the Egyptian Mummy - image pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28 on


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here