Ancient peoples decorated their bodies with tattoos since long back. They are of various designs and colors. The tattoos have a cultural significance ,some as status symbols, some as religious beliefs, even some for punishments and slaves. We have the recorded evidence such as Egyptian mummies to Ice man of 5,000 years old. Ice man’s body was tattooed dots and small lines randomly distributed. There were 58 tattoos found on his body.
The Egyptian Tomb scenes, figurines display the evidence that the Egyptian women had tattoos on their bodies and the historian believed that the tattoos are the mark of the prostitutes which were done to protect them from the diseases, Most of the Egyptian women tattooed net like distribution of dots on their abdomen, breasts and thighs. Some argue that this is the general Egyptian women’s customs and not the prostitutes alone but we don’t have the proof for it.
Usually dark and black color is used but some other ancient tribes used bright colors also. The mummies found in the Kuban cemeteries have blue tattoos similar to that of the Deir el Bahari mummies which have the uniform pattern of dots on their abdomen. The Scythian (Siberian Alti Mountains) males had tattooed mythical creatures on their torso and limbs and a Scythian woman with tattoos of mythical animals on her shoulders and wrists was found in a tomb.
There were various methods of tattooing followed by different cultures. The Inuit people of Siberia made punctures with sharp needles coated with soot. In Polynesia color pigment was pricked by tapping on small rake like tool. In America the ancient Indians tattooed their faces with needle pricking. The Maori people of New Zealand were famous for their method of tattooing. They tattooed complex designs of various colors on the faces and buttocks with the bone cutting tool.
In all, the practice of tattooing implies different meanings in different culture. In some ancient tribes the tattoos displays the wearers status in the group. The Roman slaves and criminals were tattooed for identification.