The British researchers have discovered the oldest figurative tattoos in the world on the upper arms of two ancient Egyptian mummies. According to British Museum, the tattoo on a male mummy shows a wild bull and a Barbary sheep, while the one on a female has linear and S-shaped motifs. Researchers also said that the female tattoos may have denoted status, bravery or magical knowledge, while the male’s were likely symbols of virility and strength.
The artwork appeared as dark smudges in natural light, but researchers at the Museum and Oxford University’s Faculty of Oriental Studies found the tattoos in infrared photography.
“It’s actually providing completely new insights into the use of tattooing,” Daniel Antoine, curator of physical anthropology at the British Museum, told Reuters.