Mark of Protection
Tattoos have been around for centuries and have served various purposes throughout history. While today they may be a popular fashion statement, ancient cultures used tattoos for practical purposes, such as spiritual protection. One such example comes from the discovery of tattoos on two female mummies found in Deir el-Medina, Egypt, which dates back to the period between 1550-1070 BC.
Researchers from the University of Missouri (St Louis) and John Hopkins University made an interesting discovery when they found tattoos on the mummified skin of these women. One tattoo depicted a bowl, a purification ritual, and the Egyptian deity Bes. Bes was known as a protector of women, particularly in childbirth, and his image was often used to ward off evil spirits. The other mummy had a tattoo also dedicated to Bes, which was visible using infrared photography. This tattoo was part of a complex of other images, including a zigzag line that was thought to represent a marsh, where people would go to cool themselves and ease pain.
These discoveries indicate that tattoos were not solely used for decorative purposes but were also used in an apotropaic capacity to provide spiritual protection. Clay figurines found at the same site also had representations of tattoos of Bes on the lower back and upper thighs, which were believed to provide protection to women in these vulnerable areas.
Today, tattoos are still used for spiritual protection, and many people choose to get tattoos that hold a special meaning or significance to them. The Bes tattoo, in particular, is still popular among those who seek spiritual protection, especially during childbirth.
Tattoos have a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The discovery of tattoos on mummies in Egypt reveals that tattoos were not only used for fashion but also had practical purposes, such as spiritual protection. The Bes tattoo, in particular, serves as a powerful symbol of protection, and its popularity remains to this day.
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