Pazyryk Mummy with 2,500 Year Old Tattoos to be Displayed
04:43 PM
Pazyryk Mummy tattoo 2.jpg
Photos via Siberian Times.

A number of you passed along this Daily Mail article entitled: "The astonishing 2,500 year old tattoos of a Siberian princess, and how they reveal little has changed in the way we decorate our bodies." Considering the nature of the tabloid [one reader called it "Daily Fail"], the real meaty info of the news is buried at the end in favor of quoting a scientist at the onset discussing how Greeks make fun of British tourists' tattoos. They do, but the scientist had more to say.

So I hit up the original article quoted by The Mail, which was in The Siberian Times and it is packed with much more interesting information.

The Siberian Princess is also called the Pazyryk Mummy because she and the other bodies found with her are believed to be from the nomadic Pazyryk tribe. She's also known as the Altai Princess & Ukok Princess as she was found in the Ukok Plateau of the Altai Mountains near the border of Mongolia.

The "princess" was discovered in 1993 by Dr. Natalia Polosmak, the archeologist quoted in the articles, and largely kept at a scientific institute in Novosibirsk, preserved by the same scientists who who preserve the body of Lenin.

It's making headlines now because she'll be coming home to Altai and will soon be displayed in a glass sarcophagus in a mausoleum at the Republican National Museum in the capital Gorno-Altaisk.
princess of Ukok mummy tattoo.jpg Believed to be a 25-year-old healer, storyteller or shaman, the mummified woman was buried among others, including two tattooed men who also had intricate tattoos. Dr. Polosmak offers more on their markings:

Compared to all tattoos found by archeologists around the world, those on the mummies of the Pazyryk people are the most complicated, and the most beautiful. More ancient tattoos have been found, like the Ice Man found in the Alps - but he only had lines, not the perfect and highly artistic images one can see on the bodies of the Pazyryks.

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

For more on the Pazyryk mummies and additional photos, I highly recommend clicking The Siberian Times article. And if you want even more, check these articles on other tattooed mummies.

The New Scientist: "Ancient tattoos linked to healing ritual."

Otzi the Iceman.

Smithsonian: "Tattoos, The Ancient and Mysterious History"

And Lars Krutak's texts for The Vanishing Tattoo (like this one).

Pazyryk Mummy tattoo.jpg

"Reconstruction of a warrior's tattoos, who was discovered on the same plateau as the 'Princess'. All drawings of tattoos, here and below, were made by Elena Shumakova, Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science."

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