Ancient Egyptian Tattoos Brooke Campbell COM/150 June 27, 2010 Bill Wilke Egyptians are highly known for their glorious pyramids, powerful pharaohs, and endless amounts of gold and jewels. When we think of Egyptians we also think of tombs, curses, and cats being a source of protection. However, it is not known to many that they have not only defined the art, but also the meaning behind tattooing. Tattoos are the one thing still captured on the bodies of mummies, in which were discovered from over a millennium ago. Females in particular, had specific tattoos which were used as a therapeutic role during pregnancy and birth. Each tattoo had specific color and significance behind the symbols. Handmade tools were also used in the craft of tattooing during the Egyptian era. Now they have evolved to more dynamic equipment and use of substance. From care to the final product there is a lot of work that goes into preserving tattoos. Written records, physical remains, and works of art have changed our understanding of Egyptian culture. There is good reason to believe that Egyptians were beyond their intellectual ability. Their process of preparing a human as a mummy required countless steps and organization. Ancient writers and modern scientists have both attributed to the knowledge of how this Ancient tradition came about. The remains of Egyptians have been kept preserved because of their tedious attempt in the process of mummification. Mummies, for example, had the protection from chemical exposure, extreme cold conditions, very low humidity, and lack of air when submerged in tombs. The discovery of mummies from Ancient Egypt has also shown us the presence of tattooing. Research and discoveries have pointed out that the art of tattooing was known to Egyptians, and was one of the common practices that were adopted by them. The tattoos found on their remaining bodies were known to be in many sizes, shapes, and colors. One of the earliest evidence of tattoos was identified on mummies dating all the way back from 2000 B. C. The majority of mummies discovered were identified as female, in which were covered with dot like patterns throughout their bodies. Evidence points to the fact that tattoos were an exclusively used practice among females. One of the most famous mummies ever written about was Amunet, who was known as a deity or rather a highly known Goddess (Taylor, 1998). Other than being a traditional royal subject, tattoos had significance for female Egyptians. Lineberry (2007), “The tattooing of Ancient Egyptian women had a therapeutic role, and functioned as a permanent form of amulet during the very difficult time of pregnancy and birth” (Tattoos, para 5). Pregnancy and birth can be a life changing experience, and for Egyptian women it was also a particular time that they felt the need for protecting themselves. The areas in which were most commonly noted with tattoos during this difficult time were on the thighs, breasts, and abdomen. Lineberry (2007), “The specific pattern was in the same way bead nets were placed over wrapped mummies to protect them.
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