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Frozen in the Alps...Preserved 5,300 Years...The European 'Iceman'...
...Bearing 57 Tattoo's...Undisputable Scientific evidence...One of Mankind's earliest traditional visual arts!

For thousands of years, an accepted traditional art of great social importance to:

Ancient Asians Societies,

American Tribal Cultures,

Europeans, Celts & Duids,

Polynesians & More!

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Being invited to participate as the exclusive guest artist at the Australian Museum's 'Body Art' Exhibit for April and May of 2000 was a huge honor. A daring and ground breaking move for such a seemingly conservative institution, the exhibit went on despite public protest by certain fringe groups. Due to the unexpected success of the program the museum later took the exhibit on tour around the country!

Actually, the earliest solid evidence obtained to date indicate that tattooing was taking place as a purposeful process as early as 38,000 BC. Instruments that were most likely utilized for dermagraphics during the Upper Paleolithic period have been unearthed at several European archaelogical digs. Figures made of stone and clay, sporting tattoo-like engravings, have been found alongside instruments who's purpose would be a mystery, if not for the process of tattoo. The instruments in all the sites were startingly similar in composition and design. A disc of clay and Red Ochre with a small hole, and sharp bone needles that moved through the hole to pierce the skin. The bowl itself acting as a pigment reservoir. I wonder was the slogan of the time: "We use new bones for every tattoo!"


The Jomon Period (ca. 10,000 B.C.-300B.C.) in Asia has also presented us with solid evidence of dermagraphic artistry. Several figurines, or 'Dogu' made during this period exhibit markings around the mouths of the beings. It is believed these markings represented tattoo. Due to the fact that all the unearthed figurines exhibit female traits such as sexual organs or breasts, or indications of pregnancy, they are believed to be empowerments of fertility. However, for our purposes, the interest is in the markings, did they in fact represent tattoo. Comparrison of the Dogu markings with facial tattoo's in Pacific Rim cultures such as Taiwan, Southeast Asia and the Polynesian triangle leaves little doubt that the markings were in fact indicative of tattooing. Interestingly enough our little Italian hero also introduces evidence near halfway across the planet of tattooing being somewhat common in Europe during this same period. Prior to his discovery, the earliest confirmable evidence in the region came from Eygpt.

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Up until recentley, tattooing by puncture, with a sharp tool or needle which introduces a dye under the top layer of skin, was believed first practiced in Ancient Egypt. Archeological discoveries yielded clay dolls and implements which substantiated the fact. In recorded history, the earliest tattoos can be found in Egypt during the time of the construction of the great pyramids. The civilizations of Crete, Arabia, Persia and Greece seemed to pick up on the fashion as the Egyptians expanded their empire. It is believed the practice may have spread east to China at this same time.
The point is, tattooing has always, it seems, been the hot world-wide fashion statement , whether its West, on Peruvian mummies recentley excavated, or Central Europe,as with 'The Iceman', or the East as with the Siberian 'Ice Maiden'.
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From the Nova Television Series special 'The Siberian Ice Maiden':
"Sacrificial horses guard her tomb. Gold and silk adorn her body. For 24 centuries, she was frozen in time. Was she a priestess? A warrior chief?"

POLOSMAK: "She was lying as if asleep. She was arranged like that intentionally because the Pazyryk believed they never died, but simply passed on to another world".
NARRATOR: "The blanket she wore hid another surprise".
SMOOT:" We pulled back carefully the clothing, and on her left arm, the right thumb, and then again on her left shoulder are these amazing tattoos. Creatures just in immediate action poses, and they are in fact twisted oddly at 180 degree angles. They have amazing horns that end in flowers, fantastic creatures. At that point, the whole dig stopped and people came down and everyone was looking, not only was this a woman, but one with tattoos and they are quite elegant".

If I've captured your imagination, which I hope is the case, then perhaps you'd like to continue your 'Tattoo History Tour' with the link below:
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MORE TATTOO HISTORY A continued discussion of what little we do know from history. Includes some very informative links

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