Best Preserved & Most Elaborate Ancient Tattoos in the World – Imagery as a Form of Language & Status
As I’m in the midst of working on sacred tattoo designs here, I found this article shared by a dear friend of mine -thanks Jim!! – to be quite a cool and synchronous read. The article shares about a 2500 year-old mummy of a Siberian “Princess” – known as the Ukok Princess – and two mummies of “warrior” men who were discovered 19 years ago on the remote Ukok Plateau, about 2,500 meters up in the Altai Mountains, close to the border frontiers of Russia with Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.
I LOVE the elaborate and beautiful designs of these nomadic Pazyryk people, which are seen to be the “best preserved and most elaborate ancient tattoos anywhere in the world”.
We all remember the “Ice Man” – Otzi – found in the Alps and his ancient tattoos, which are much older, but were no where near the incredible artistry of the Pazyryks’ tattoos, as he had only lines and dots.
The Siberian Princess is said to have died around age 25-28 over 2500 years ago, which makes her “some five centuries older than Jesus Christ, and several hundred years the senior of Alexander the Great”.
She was buried with six horses – her spiritual escorts to the next world and symbols of her status. It is thought she may have been “more likely a revered folk tale narrator, a healer or a holy woman than an ice princess”.
Nonetheless, these tattoos had much meaning and symbolism to the Pazyryks, and across time, this has held true for all ancient cultures.
I love how the Pazyryks used animal imagery as a form of language to represent their thoughts. Wearing many animals myself, I do understand. 🙂
They were also used to define their status in society and in the world, and the more tattoos a person had, the higher their position, and the longer it meant that they lived. Again, as I point out in my book, Spiritual Skin, it is interesting how things changed and how tattoos began to be looked down upon in modern times.
Since the princess had only her two arms tattooed, it signified her younger age, as well as her status.
You can read the full article that details more about the tattoo findings of the princess and warriors, along with specifics on the fantastical animal imagery they wear, and other interesting insights here:
In my book, Spiritual Skin, I included a little history of tattoos in my chapter, “Retracing the Origins of Tattoos: Evolution of Understanding.” One of the things I touched briefly upon, was the Iceman, Otzi, who is one of the first known humans to wear tattoos.
His body is carbon-dated at around 5,200 – 5,500 years old and has over 50 tattoos that can be clearly seen on his mummified body still. The parts of the body that the tattoos were found, correspond to stress-induced degeneration areas suggesting they may have been applied to help alleviate joint pain, which would mean they were therapeutic in nature. But there is also evidence that some may have served as a form of status marker.
Dave sent me this fun article by Andy Mills that has great close up photos of Otzi’s tattoos:
I thought you might enjoy perusing them and found it synchronous that the same day I got sent this article, I was also sent a spiritual tattoo video, as well as had the day before been talking tattoos with a girlfriend and discussing my past transformational experiences leading up to my latest concluding tattoo I just received is to come.
I also love the warning Andy posts at the onset:
(WARNING: the following contains an unapologetic pro-tattoo bias. If this upsets you, please complain loudly to Soren Wheeler at email@example.com)
But, seriously, what do Otzi’s tattoos point to?
That humans have been marking their bodies for thousands upon thousands of years, and even longer than our historical “written” records document, in my opinion.
And throughout the ages, tattooing has served many varying purposes – as adornments, status and rank symbols, devices for security and magical protection, symbols of religious belief and spiritual devotion, tools for therapeutic healing, sexual lures, and marks of fertility, symbols of rights or seniority, declarations of love, and even marks of punishment or status as an outcast, convict, or slave.
My book delves into an overview of other points of interest across time, and cycles us back around to a “present day resurgence” and how we are recapturing the ancient ways and infusing them with current energy and wisdom for how we can utilize sacred tattoos to create a more empowered life.
If interested in learning more, you can order your personal copy of “Spiritual Skin ~ Sacred Tattoos: More than Skin Deep” here, in time for Christmas: Signed and Inscribed Copy of Spiritual Skin
It’s also available on Amazon here: Spiritual Skin
And in Kindle format on Amazon here: Spiritual Skin
If you would like to partner in co-creating your own sacred tattoo design to embody the empowerment you desire, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the process and pricing please visit: What is a Tattoo Design Consultation
Remember that current rates for designing are good through December 2013 only (3 more weeks) and will be increasing January 1st. You can lock in the rate, if you put in your deposit by end of the year. There is a waiting list, so a deposit will hold your space.