Mummies' Tattoos Reinterpreted Today
08:38 AM
pazyryk tattoo.jpgLast year, we wrote about the Pazyryk Mummy with 2,500 Year Old Tattoos, aka the "Altai Princess," who was being returned to her home in the Altai Republic to be on display for public view.  

The "princess" was discovered in 1993 by Dr. Natalia Polosmak, and largely kept at a scientific institute in Novosibirsk, preserved by the same scientists who who preserve the body of Lenin. The mummified woman was buried among others, including two tattooed men who also had intricate tattoos. Dr. Polosmak was quoted in The Siberian Times stating, "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." [See the tattoos and drawings below.]

The artistry and beauty of these tattoos have naturally inspired today's tattooists.

Colin Dale, of Skin & Bone Tattoo in Copenhagen, Denmark, recently tattooed this Pazyryk-inspired work (with his own twist) -- and he did so by hand, not machine. The work won second place for Female Ornamental at the St. Petersburg Convention.  The collector is a Russian anthropology student in St. Petersburg, which is also home to the Hermitage Museum, where other Pazyryk Mummies are on display. [You can also see photos and drawings of the tattoos on the Hermitage site.]  

Colin told me that another Pazyryk/Scythian piece was beautifully done at last year's Copenhagen Ink Fest by Kai Uwe Faust at Kunsten pa Kroppen. Photos (some of which are not safe for work) can be found here.

I think these contemporary interpretations of ancient tattoos are a testament to the everlasting power of the art form. And they just look amazingly cool.

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