Tattoos on 5,300-year-old mummy reveal healing, religious significance
This 5,300-year-old mummy is perhaps not only the most famous mummy in Europe, but also one of the most important finds for those studying the world history of tattoos.
In both cases, the tattoos were a series of dots, often applied as a protective net over a woman’s abdomen. There were also tattoos of the Egyptian goddess Bes, considered the protector of women in labor, on a woman’s upper thigh. In both cases, these ancient tattoos were seen as a kind of protective talisman for women who were about to give birth.
Tattoos across many religions
In modern times, people all over the world can still be seen wearing sacred tattoos with religious significance.
What the tattoos on Ötzi’s mummified body of the Ice Man meant to him will most likely remain at least partially a mystery.
But Ötzi is an important reminder that tattoos have been and continue to be a sacred part of many cultures around the world.
Allison Hawn is a professor of communication education at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Hawn does not work, consult, own stock, or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has not disclosed any relevant affiliations beyond his academic appointment.