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Egyptian Tattoos:

Egyptian Tattoos:

Though once completely taboo, tattoos are becoming more popular among Egypt's youth. This piece explores the country's tattoo culture, examining how Egyptian tattoos differ from Western symbols, and noting both the economic and cultural contexts of the practice. Scientific Views on Shaving, Hair Removal, and Tattooing: In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in tattooing

51 Awesome Egyptian Tattoo Ideas for Men and Women

Are you on the hunt for a tattoo that will make you stand out from the crowd? Do you want to be original? Do you want a tattoo that is especially meaningful to you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you will be excited to explore the world of Egyptian-themed tattoos with us! Anything from Egyptian mythology will be artful, meaningful, and unique. The list of ideas can go on and on, and we have dedicated this entire post to Egyptian tattoos. (Source: www.inkme.tattoo)

Tattoos in Ancient Egypt:

The word "tattoo" comes from the Polynesian Ta meaning "to strike" which evolved into the Tahitian word tatau meaning "to mark something" and so tattoos have come to be associated in the modern day with Polynesia. The art of tattooing goes back millenia, however, and was practiced in ancient Egypt at least as early as the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE). In ancient cultures such as Greece and Rome the tattoo was worn as a cultic symbol dedicating one to a certain god, as a brand symbolizing servitude, as a mark of a certain type of profession (such as a prostitute) or to encourage fertility or afford protection. In these cultures both men and women were tattooed but, in Egypt, tattoos were seemingly only worn by women though possibly for many of the same reasons. (Source: www.worldhistory.org)

Because this seemed to be an exclusively female practice in ancient Egypt, mummies found with tattoos were usually dismissed by the (male) excavators who seemed to assume the women were of "dubious status," described in some cases as "dancing girls." The female mummies had nevertheless been buried at Deir el-Bahari (opposite modern Luxor) in an area associated with royal and elite burials, and we know that at least one of the women described as "probably a royal concubine" was actually a high-status priestess named Amunet, as revealed by her funerary inscriptions. And although it has long been assumed that such tattoos were the mark of prostitutes or were meant to protect the women against sexually transmitted diseases, I personally believe that 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 (1). Because this seemed to be an exclusively female practice in ancient Egypt, mummies found with tattoos were usually dismissed by the (male) excavators who seemed to assume the women were of "dubious status," described in some cases as "dancing girls." The female mummies had nevertheless been buried at Deir el-Bahari (opposite modern Luxor) in an area associated with royal and elite burials, and we know that at least one of the women described as "probably a royal concubine" was actually a high-status priestess named Amunet, as revealed by her funerary inscriptions. And although it has long been assumed that such tattoos were the mark of prostitutes or were meant to protect the women against sexually transmitted diseases, I personally believe that 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 (1).

These colors symbolized life, birth, resurrection, the heavens, and fertility. Although the color black in the modern day is usually associated with death and evil, in ancient Egypt it symbolized life and resurrection. Green was commonly used as a symbol of life and blue, among its many meanings, symbolized fertility and birth. The tattoo artists were most likely older women with experience understanding both the symbols and the significance of the colors. Female seers were commonplace in ancient Egypt, as Egyptologist Rosalie David explains:

The problem in the modern day is interpreting a "dancing girl" as a polar opposite to a "priestess" as though there were no hint of eroticism or sexuality to religion and no divine aspect to dancing or sex. Egyptian religion was fully integrated into the lives of the people and sexuality was as much a part of those lives as any other aspect. Perhaps, as in the present, the tattoo in ancient Egypt had many meanings aside from amuletic protection or cultic devotion. In the case of the image of Bes, a god known as well for encouraging merriment as providing protection, perhaps it was simply an expression of the joy one found in living one's life.

 

 

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