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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Sun 11 Apr, 2010 3:25 pm    Post subject: Ancient and Medieval Tattoos         Reply with quote

I have been debating tattoos for a while now. I know I want one, but I have yet to find something that I feel suits me properly in such a way that I would be satisfied with it in the long run. Finally I determined that I would be satisfied with one that had an expressly historical basis, ideally using historical techniques as well. I have been doing a good deal of research on the topic, and have discovered several sources demonstrating the use of branding and tattooing in the ancient world, and occasionally in medieval Europe as well in the context of crusades.
I have found evidence of tattooing and even the processes and ingredients involved, but these are mostly text sources and don't give me a good impression of what said tattoos might have actually looked like. That being said, I was wondering if anyone had or knew of any sources describing specific tattoo design in any western or middle-eastern culture prior to the renaissance? Vase or plate paintings, illustrated manuscripts, effigies, or a primary source that describes in good detail what designs individuals marked themselves with? I have found a few Thracian and Egyptian sources from pottery paintings, but to my knowledge tattooing was practiced exclusively on females in this culture.
In part I'm looking for a reference for something I might get myself, but I'm also just curious as to what early examples are available.
Thanks!
p.s. A great source I've found on evidence of tattoos in Greek and Roman society is C.P. Jones's journal article, "Stigma: Tattooing and Branding in Graeco-Roman Antiquity," in case anyone else is curious.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/300578?seq=10

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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J Horn





Joined: 18 May 2008

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sun 11 Apr, 2010 7:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An ancient Scythian burial was dug up in the 70's somewhere in the Altai mountains of Siberia and came accross some burials with bodies partially intact in the permafrost. One of the males has tattoos of zoomorphic artwork all over his body. The original publication is:

Rudenko, S. I. 1970. Frozen tombs of Siberia : the Pazyryk burials of Iron Age horsemen / by Sergeĭ I. Rudenko; translated and with a preface by M. W. Thompson.

Though the book is quite old and probably hard to find, however there are pictures on google images of it if you type in.

Also, there is an account I remember of Harald Godwinson's mistress having to identify his body by his distinctive tattoos after the battle of Hastings - believe it if you will.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Apr, 2010 8:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ítzi! 5300 BP.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi_the_Iceman


Ítzi had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. Using X-rays, it was determined that the Iceman may have had arthritis in these joints. It has been speculated that they may be related to acupuncture.

-Sean

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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
Joined: 02 May 2009

Posts: 197

PostPosted: Sun 11 Apr, 2010 8:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you both for the sources. Are you aware of whether there is a description of what sort of tattoos Harald Godwinson may have had, aside from their being distinctive?
"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Sun 11 Apr, 2010 11:16 pm    Post subject: Tattoo         Reply with quote

There is no concrete evidence that Godwinsson himself had any tattooing, The myth that he was tattooed seems to come from the description that in order to identify his corpse after the combat at Senlac, only Godwinnson's mistress was able to identify his body by 'certain marks', which really could mean anything from, a birthmark,or any other number of skin lesions ,scars etc.

Tattooing was considered by the Anglo-Saxon clergy as a heathen practice and at the Synod of Whitby denounced the marking of the body as un-christian.

Best
Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Sun 11 Apr, 2010 11:31 pm    Post subject: tattoo's         Reply with quote

Sorry I meant to add, here is a link to an excellent tattoo artist who uses historically based iconography and hand pricked techniques to make some excllent work.
http://www.skinandbone.dk/colin_dale_photobook_vol_1.pdf
If I can get te time I'll post some pics of my own and my son's tattoos that use Vendel and Valsgarde motiff's as inspiration.

best
Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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Michael B.
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Location: Chugiak, AK
Joined: 18 Oct 2007

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Mon 12 Apr, 2010 12:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This was an interesting article, and they do cite where they get their information from:

http://www.vanishingtattoo.com/tattoo_museum/...ttoos.html

http://www.vanishingtattoo.com/tattoo_museum/pictish_tattoos.html

http://www.vanishingtattoo.com/tattoo_museum/...ttoos.html

And page four of this article at the Smithsonian Magazine also mentions the Greeks and Romans

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeo...amp;page=4

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Michael Bergstrom
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Werner Stiegler





Joined: 27 Feb 2007

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Mon 12 Apr, 2010 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tatooing small crosses on the back of the hands apparently became sort of popular after the crusades. Before that it had been a symbol of slave status though.
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David Huggins




Location: UK
Joined: 25 Jul 2007

Posts: 490

PostPosted: Wed 14 Apr, 2010 2:07 pm    Post subject: Tattoo         Reply with quote

Hi Quinn

Here is a link to some of our historical inspired tattooing that I designed

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fus...1513430ich

I hope gives an impression of what can be achieved using iconography from cultural artifacts as refrences .

best
Dave

and he who stands and sheds blood with us, shall be as a brother.
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