Body art has a very deep and ancient history with humans. Anthropologists and archaeologists are constantly discovering evidence of body art that dates back to the Stone Age in 10,000 B.C. Ancient tattoo tools were discovered by archaeologists in Portugal, France, and Scandinavia that are 12,000 years old.
Humans have always used art to convey messages and deeper meanings. Body art is best understood as a way for a person to communicate their feelings, experiences, and ideas through the use of their own body. Types of body art include but are not limited to tattoos, piercings, scalpelling, branding, and body paint. The following is a list of the top 15 amazing facts about the history of body art.
The oldest preserved body with tattoos belong to Ötzi the Iceman. It is believed that he lived over 5,000 yeas ago, sometime between 3,330 to 3,200 B.C.. He was found between Italy and Austria and is the oldest natural mummy ever found in Europe to date. His tattoos are located on his wrists, lower back, ankles, leg, and the inside of his left knee. A black cross was tattooed on the inside of his knee, parallel lines were tattooed on one of his legs, his wrists, and his ankles, while there were six dots tattooed along his lower back. Each of these places are locations that are used in acupuncture. The markings are in areas where his body was experiencing joint disease, which indicates that his tattoos, and possibly the tattoos of others from that time period, were used to relieve pain. In other ancient cultures, using tattoos as a form of pain relief was not uncommon.
Body shaping in our human history dates back at least 9,000 years. There are many different types of body shaping, some are seen as barbaric practices while others were seen as a way to attain the beauty ideals set within specific cultures. Head shaping was one of the most common types of body shaping in ancient civilizations. Also known as intentional human cranial deformation, the earliest examples of this were found in the Shanidar Cave in Iraq, from the 9th millennium B.C. Head binding, which would disrupt and deform the normal development of a child’s skull by force would begin around a month after birth and would continue well into 6 months. Different cultures, such as the Mayans, Native American tribes, and Australian Aborigines performed head shaping on infants in order to meet the ideal beauty and customs of their region. Conical, flat, elongated, and rounded skulls have all been found as proof of this practice.