Monday, December 8, 2014

The Tattooed Princess

It's Creative Inspitation Monday! I'm so excited to share this.

When I was younger I was obsessed with ancient Egypt. I used to watch documentaries where they would open the sarcophagus and unveil the mysterious mummy. I was awed by the stories the mummies told. Does anyone else remember that feeling?

One day not too long ago I came across this picture as I browsed Pinterest. 

A tattooed mummy! Cue the freak-out! I'd never seen anything like this before! I just had to check it out. 

This mummy didn't come from Egypt. She was brought up in 1993 from the permafrost of the Ukok Plateau in the Altai Mountains. This border region is squished between Russia, Mongolia, China, and Kazakhstan. Her people were the Pazyryk, a nomadic people of the 5th century B.C. 

She has been called the Ukok Princess. Her body-art is some of the best preserved and most elaborate ancient tattoos anywhere in the world!

Illustration of "Princess's tattoos. Siberian Times.

"The tattoos on the left shoulder of the 'princess'  show a fantastical mythological animal: a deer with a griffon's beak and a Capricorn's antlers. The antlers are decorated with the heads of griffons. And the same griffon's head is shown on the back of the animal.
The mouth of a spotted panther with a long tail is seen at the legs of a sheep. She also has a deer's head on her wrist, with big antlers. There is a drawing on the animal's body on a thumb on her left hand."  (Siberian Times)

When I first saw these drawings I was amazed at how modern they looked. The designs are absolutely stunning. Experts say that, in the Pazyryk culture, the more tattoos there are on a body, the longer that person had lived. And many tattoos also pointed to elevated position. 

Now this woman is speculated to have been around 25-28 when she died so she does not have too many tattoos. But she was certainly important! She was buried with six elaborately harnessed horses. And two men, supposedly warriors, were also buried close by. 

Check out the tats the guys were sporting!

Illustration of a Warrior's tatoos. Siberian Times

Simply stunning! 

I had never heard of this people or culture before but now I am intensely excited to learn more about them. 

The tradition behind the body-art, the fantastical creatures, and the stunning beauty of it all has definitely inspired me. Not to actually get one though! For myself I have reservations about getting a tattoo (terrified of needles!), but from an anthropological perspective the tattoos can give insights to the culture and the people. 

Plus, in all my brainstorming for this epic book I want to write, my characters might be in that general area of the world at one point.  Maybe I will take a lesson from this mummy here and create a tattooed shaman of my own. Check out my Pinterest board "Ancient Man" to see more cool stuff like this.

What did you think of the tattooed princess? You can catch up on her story at this website: Siberian Times. But before you go, please comment! 


  1. This is really neat! I've been inspired too. ^ ^ I have some fantasy races that could have tattoo art like this. Thanks for sharing. ^ ^

    Stori Tori's Blog

  2. I'm so glad someone else likes this sort of thing. These tattoos are absolutly incredible! I'm glad you enjoyed the read, and thank you for commenting.


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