The astonishing 2,500 year old tattoos of a Siberian princess: little has changed in how we decorate our bodies
2012 08 17

By Will Stewart | DailyMail.co.uk

The intricate patterns of 2,500-year-old tattoos - some from the body of a Siberian ’princess’ preserved in the permafrost - have been revealed in Russia.

The remarkable body art includes mythological creatures and experts say the elaborate drawings were a sign of age and status for the ancient nomadic Pazyryk people, described in the 5th century BC by the Greek historian Herodotus.


The Body of Princess Ukok, who died aged 25, had several tattoos on her body, including a deer with a griffon’s beak and a Capricorn’s antlers. The tattoos have been perfectly preserved for 2,500 years.

But scientist Natalia Polosmak - who discovered the remains of ice-clad ’Princess Ukok’ high in the Altai Mountains - is also struck about how little has changed in more than two millennia.


’I think we have not moved far from Pazyryks in how the tattoos are made,’ she told the Siberian Times.

’It is still about a craving to make yourself as beautiful as possible.’

’For example, about the British.

’A lot of them go on holiday to Greece, and when I’ve been there I heard how Greeks were smiling and saying that a British man’s age can be easily understood by the number of tattoos on his body.

’I’m talking the working class now.

’And I noticed it, too.

’The older a person, the more tattoos are on his body.’

Dr Polosmak added: ’We can say that most likely there was - and is - one place on the body for everyone to start putting the tattoos on, and it was a left shoulder.

’I can assume so because all the mummies we found with just one tattoo had it on their left shoulders.



’And nowadays this is the same place where people try to put the tattoos on, thousands of years on.

’I think its linked to the body composition - as the left shoulder is the place where it is noticeable most, where it looks the most beautiful.

’Nothing changes with years, the body stays the same, and the person making a tattoo now is getting closer to his ancestors than he or she may realise.’

The tattoo patterns are from the ancient ’princess’ who died at around the age of 25 - and from two warriors found on an ancient permafrost burial site at Ukok Plateau some 2,500 metres above sea level close to Russia’s frontiers with modern day Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.


Researchers also found two warriors close to the Princess , and were able to reconstruct their tattoos. Here, one is shown with an animal covering the right side of his body, across his right shoulder and stretching from his chest to his back.



Princess Ukok’s hand with marked tattoos on her fingers. She was dug out of the ice 19 years ago, and is set to go on public display in the Altai Republic.



The tattoos of one of two warriors found on the ancient permafrost burial site at Ukok Plateau some 2,500 metres above sea level close to Russia’s frontiers with modern day Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.



Princess Ukok: sculptor’s impression of what she looked like 2,500 years ago.


The reconstruction of the tattoos in the images shown here were released to coincide with the moving of the remains of the princess, dug out of the ice 19 year ago, to a permanent glass sarcophagus in the National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk, capital of the Altai Republic.

Eventually she will be displayed to tourists.

Buried around her were six horses, saddled and bridled, her spiritual escorts to the next world, and a symbol of her evident status, though experts are divided on whether she was a royal or a revered folk tale narrator, a healer or a holy woman.

Next to hear body was a meal of sheep and horse meat and ornaments made from felt, wood, bronze and gold. And a small container of cannabis, say some accounts, along with a stone plate on which were the burned seeds of coriander.

’Tattoos were used as a mean of personal identification - like a passport now, if you like,’ said Dr Polosmak.


’The Pazyryks also believed the tattoos would be helpful in another life, making it easy for the people of the same family and culture to find each other after death.

’Pazyryks repeated the same images of animals in other types of art, which is considered to be like a language of animal images, which represented their thoughts.’

The tattoos were ’used to express some thoughts and to define one’s position both in society, and in the world.

The more tattoos were on the body, the longer it meant the person lived, and the higher was his position.

’For example the body of one man, which was found earlier in the 20th century, had his entire body covered with tattoos, as you see on the picture of his torso,’ said Dr Polosmak.

’Our young woman - the princess - has only her two arms tattooed. So they signified both age and status.’

[...]

To read the full article, and see more fascinating photos, visit: DailyMail.co.uk









Related Articles
FBI Wants a Database of Your Tattoos
Vibrating tattoo could replace your ringtone
Medical Tattoos Offer Important Health Information
Autopsy: Michael Jackson had tattoos on scalp, eyebrows and lips
Programmable Nano Tattoos
Powdered Mummy, Gladiator Blood, and other Historical Medicines Made from Human Corpses
Company Offers Pet Mummification Service
Cancer Found in 2,000 Year Old Mummy
Scottish prehistoric mummies made from jigsaw of body parts
Model gives ancient Iceman Oetzi new face


Latest News from our Front Page

Cyclopean Masonry: A Mystery of the Ancient World
2014 04 16
They don’t make things like they used to, and that is, in some cases, a monumental understatement. Silly wordplay notwithstanding, there is something to be said for the construction techniques of the old world. Where modern buildings are designed to withstand the elements; wind, temperature extremes, earthquakes and floods, today’s engineers have to strike a balance between economics ...
Megalithic Origins : Ancient connections between Göbekli Tepe and Peru
2014 04 16
At 6,500 years older than Stonehenge and 7,000 years before the pyramids were constructed, a cult megalithic complex sat atop the hills near current day Sanliurfa, in southeast Turkey. Göbekli Tepe was flourishing an astonishing 12,000 - 14,000 years ago, and today, the preserved remains still exhibits high degrees of sophistication and megalithic engineering skill. Back in the 1990’s when ...
Department of Transportation Uses LRAD Sound Cannons Against Drivers
2014 04 16
The Missouri Department of Transportation revealed two newly acquired LRAD sound cannons this week, which will reportedly be used to target vehicles that speed in work zones. Coming in at $25,000 a piece, the Long-Range Acoustic Device, a sonic weapon best know for its use against protesters and insurgents in Afghanistan, will alert drivers to road conditions by shooting a loud ...
An ’Unknown Holocaust’ and the Hijacking of History
2014 04 16
An address by Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, delivered at an IHR meeting in Orange County, California, on July 25, 2009. (A report on the meeting is posted here.) We hear a lot about terrible crimes committed by Germans during World War II, but we hear very little about crimes committed against Germans. Germany’s defeat in May ...
Ex-Mayor Bloomberg Starting $50 Million Gun-Control Network
2014 04 16
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ramped up his efforts to fight gun violence on Wednesday with a plan to spend $50 million on a grassroots network to organize voters on gun control. The initiative’s political target is the powerful pro-gun lobby, including the National Rifle Association, that spends millions of dollars each year to back gun-rights supporters. Bloomberg’s group, called Everytown ...
More News »