Tribal Bible, tribal tattoo, ancient tatoo, tatto history, historical tattoo designs

written, illustrated and compiled
Phoenix & Arabeth

[excerpts from Volume One:]

tattooed mummy hand

Mummies have been found in Central Asia! Though these curious Caucasian mummies in the deserts of western China were first discovered by Western archaeologists in the early 20th century, they were considered anomalies---perhaps just ancient travelers or immigrants. Over the past thirty years Chinese archeologists have unearthed hundreds more of these mummified Caucasoids (as well as abundant skeletal remains amounting to thousands of ancient individuals) in the Tarim basin of Central Asia. The Tarim is in the huge Taklamakan desert in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang, formerly known as eastern Turkestan.

Today the ancient Chinese texts which speak of legendary tall people with red hair and green eyes (formerly denigrated as mere "myths") are being reinterpreted. They are not just imaginary tales as has been assumed until recently, but they tell of the very real Tocharian-branch Indo-European people, relatives of the Celts and Scythians, who possibly controlled the Silk Road during Middle and Egyptian New Kingdom times, and down to the Classical Greek era. They certainly would have been involved in the transmission of technology and culture between East and West at a very early date.

The time span of the Central Asian Caucasoids is from 2500 BC to 400 B.C. The location is within a few hundred miles of the Altai "Scythian" burials which date from approximately 500-300 BC. There is definitly some connection here. There is also a connection between the Taklamakan people and the Crimean Scyths, the Celts and the Picts. They likely influenced the "indigenous" tattooing of the tribal peoples of India, and possibly are antecedent to the Jomon culture of Japan (ancestors of the tattooed Ainu). There is credible evidence that some of the tattooing tribes of northern Asia migrated eastward to become certain tribes in the Americas as well.

As early as 1986 it was reported in world news sources that some of these mummies bore tattoos in "geometric" patterns. Thus far images of these tattoos have not been published in any accessible form. Victor Mair did an all too brief special for Nova on the mummies, but none of the tattoos were shown.

The Chinese central government does not support publication or dissemination of information about the Caucasian attributes of these people. Also tattooing has been illegal in China since the time of Emperor Qin ['Chin'], about 200 BC.

The Tribal Bible Volume One presents images of all the "Chinese" Caucasian mummy tattoo patterns currently known and lots more information about them then you are reading here. We have been assisting the archaeologists in the research on these people and have the very latest data on their tattoos.

[excerpt from Vol. 1]

The most stunning example of ancient pictorial tattooing is the heavily tattooed Scythian chieftain, the "godfather of the Tribal Tattoo," discovered by Russian archeologists in Siberia near the Mongolian and Chinese borders in 1947. The mummy was unearthed from a kurgan burial mound at Pazyryk in the Altai Mountains and was dated to ca. 500 BC, though archaeologist James Mallory (author of In Search of the Indo-Europeans) believes he is more properly dated to about 300 BC.

The chieftain was preserved as an "ice-cube" because water leaked into the kurgan and froze immediately and permanently. His arms, shoulders and parts of his torso and one leg were covered with unique bold blackline tribal animal motifs. They have stylistic echoes of Persian, Assyrian, Indian art and particularly strong parallels in the Zhou (Chou) Dynasty and Warring States periods of Chinese art.

This clearly defined and strongly developed style, which has been dubbed "Animal Style", was used for centuries on fabric, wood and metal artifacts produced across the vast expanse of the steppes which the Scyths (and their various tribal relations) roamed and ruled. It influenced the art of the Celts and the Goths as well as the Chinese.

The tattooed chieftain was of Mongolian stock in a predominantly Caucasian tribe. He was a great warrior with many kills. Each tattoo doubtlessly indicated another enemy slain (as the Spanish noted was the case amongst the Aztec warriors). This is reflected in modern American culture, where gun-fighters cut notches in their pistol grips, fighter pilots paint kill emblems on their cockpits, and army personnel wear ribbons on their chest.

A horse-worshiping nomadic people, the Scythians are thought to have ranged from the Altai in the East to the Crimea/Pontus region in the West. They were well known to the ancient Greeks. The Persians and Chinese called them the "Sakas." Herodotus gives extensive descriptions of them including their burial customs. Most of these accounts, long thought to have been solely the fruit of Herodotus' fevered imagination, have been shown to be quite accurate by the science of Archaeology.

The Scythians' centers of culture revolved around sacred initiation and burial sites. They sometimes conquered and plundered major city-states and kingdoms (notably of China and Mesopotamia, and even fought with the New Kingdom Egyptians). They, and their descendants, held sway throughout central Asia for over 2,500 years (probably from 2100 BC to ca. 1000 AD) until the rise of the Mongols.

They generally spurned agriculture and permanent construction or architecture. Their nomadic herding culture was horse-centered and they exploited abundant natural surface deposits of gold. The impressive Scythian burials nearly always contain gold artifacts and ornaments (if they have not been plundered previously when excavated).

Another very similarly tattooed frozen body was discovered nearby at Ukok in 1994, this one a twenty-five year old woman, a "warrior-priestess" who had several tattoos in an identical style. Buried in splendor with her horse, this woman seems to have been a living archetype of Epona, the Euro-Celtic horse-goddess. One of her tattoos is so similar to one of the chieftan's as to have been applied by the same artist, or one working from the same pattern. Considering that possibility is what makes the following real interesting:

The Scythians used the first transfer patterns, 2500 years ago. Close scrutiny of a felt silhouette cut-out from Pazyryk, found by Rudenko in 1947, reveals it to be an identical match with one of the tattoos on the famous warrior found the same year. [Felt artifact published in The Ancient Art of Northern Asia by Anatoly I Martynov, fig. 69 (5), p. 197] This ram with reversed hind-quarters (considered a Scythian artistic convention to represent a dead animal) is on his upper right arm. No doubt the felt was impregnated with vegetable dye, applied and allowed to stain the skin with the image by direct wet transfer. This pattern making craft is seen today in the Chinese folk art of paper cut silhouettes, many of which are still represent the ever popular animal motifs. The felt silhouette was found in the same mound as the tattooed chief.

Another very important fact about the tattooed chieftan is that his penis was tattooed. The Soviets never published this information, but it was revealed by one Russian archaeologist from that dig in a private conversation with a very diligent and highly respected American researcher, an expert on the Scythians. There are no pictures of his penile unit unfortunately, but Lyle Tuttle assures us that he has seen the mummy and the words "My Name" are tattooed on its prick in Scythian. Sure, Lyle. The Scythians did not have a written language!

Ancient Tattooed People
of Central Asia
Vol. 1 cover
Vol. 3 cover
Volume One
Ancient Tattooed People of
Central Asia

Volume Two
Tattoo Designs

Volume Three
Tribal Tattoos of
Iraq & the Middle East

FORTHCOMING in the Tribal Bible series:

Tribal & Nomad Bodyart of
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Ancient & Tribal Bodyart of
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Ancient Body art of Central
and South America

Tattoos of Ancient Europe
& the Mediterranean


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