Image via the British Museum.
An "intimate tattoo" found on a 1,300 year-old mummy is one of the highlights of the British Museum's "Ancient lives new discoveries" -- an exhibit that unlocks "hidden secrets to build up a picture" of the lives of eight people from ancient Egypt and Sudan, whose preserved bodies were analyzed, using methods such as CAT scans, to put the pieces together of who they were. The exhibit runs from May 22 to November 30, 2014, but if you can't make it to London, there are a number of outlets online, which offer some juicy details on that tattoo. Turns out it's more pious than sexy.
According to The Telegraph, one of the eight mummies, who was found in 2005 on an archeological dig in Sudan, had, on her right inner thigh, a tattoo with a monogram of a name spelled in Ancient Greek. Here's more from the article:
One of the mummies, whose remains were found just seven years ago, was so well preserved that archaeologists could almost make out the tattoo on her skin on the inner thigh of her right leg with the naked eye. Infra-red technology helped define it more clearly.
There's also an interesting short video on The Telegraph that further discusses the tattooed mummy, and the others in the exhibit. Check it.
The Mirror also had a piece on the mummy, which I found on the wonderful Tattoo History Daily. The editor of the blog, Anna Felicity Friedman, also posted the article on her personal Facebook page, and there's an excellent discussion in the comments, including links to further information on tattooed mummies, such as Gemma Angel's articles (Part I and Part II) on tattooing in ancient Egypt.
As I often say, whenever you hear people talk about a "tattoo trend," remind them that it's one of the oldest "trends" of mankind.
Image above (cropped) from Tattoo History Daily. See full image and caption here.
This Thursday, forgo the flowers, candy hearts, and love poems, and spend your Valentine's Day with stories of "disfigurement, murder, and flayed skin (with a bit of cannibalism and sadism thrown in for good measure)" -- with red wine of course -- at Morbid Anatomy (8pm) in Brooklyn, NY for the Tragic Tattoo Tales: A Valentine's Day Lecture and Reading.
The illustrated lecture and reading is given by our favorite tattoo scholars Anna Felicity Friedman and Matt Lodder, who will offer up tattoo history tied to romance and the macabre. Here's more on the talk from Morbid Anatomy:
Through illustrated slide lectures, Drs. Friedman and Lodder will present comparative historical material to provide context and deeper understanding and to separate fact from fiction. Learn about wide ranging tattoo topics in both Western and non-Western cultures and have questions answered that the stories raise. Did people really preserve tattooed skin? What were people reading about tattoos in the early twentieth century? Were Maori really tattooed head to foot? What were the connections between Ukiyo-e and Japanese tattooing in the Edo period?Anna also told the Brooklyn Daily: "There's some short stories about tattooing and romance, which are kind of creepy and weird. They always end with death, or some macabre consequence like being splashed with acid, or having the tattoo flayed off the skin."
Sounds like an average Thursday night for Brian & I, so we'll be there. I hope to see y'all as well. It's only $5 for admission, so you can bring a few dates to Tragic Tattoo Tales.
Also, check out Anna's irreverent Valentine's Day mini-series on Tattoo History Daily (which includes the images in this post). It's not related to the lecture content, necessarily, but similarly cynical and awesome.
A pair of lovers, part of a trio posted on Tattoo History Daily. From Riecke, 1925.
There's a new tattoo blog out that I'm loving: Tattoo History Daily, which is on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. The daily dose of tattoo history goodness is brought to you by interdisciplinary scholar Dr. Anna Felicity Friedman.
The images are from archival research and/or her personal collection, and are fantastically curated, like this one above: "Tattoos as part of the US Army's 1889 plan to help id deserters, from Alden's 1896 article in The American Anthropologist." Or the image below, a cover to a 1957 pulp fiction/science fiction novella from her archive.
While the blog is just getting started, there's plenty to browse and enjoy. Check it!