April 22, 2007

The Scythians

Just after the Second World War, archeologists excavated the first of a long row of graves in the Altai Mountains of Southern Siberia.

These graves had been full of permanently frozen ice, so everything in them was perfectly preserved.
Within grave number two, the archeologists found a well preserved chieftain with some fantastic tattoos. These are the oldest known picture-tattoos.

The Chieftains Tattoos are representing different totem- and game animals.

They are all done in a very distinct style, which is repeated in anything else that they made at the time. When they were carving wood, leather, metalwork, jewelry, felt applications, embroidery, weaving, etc etc. they used saw things in the same way.

This is something that is the same all over the world, and also in other times. People use the same ideas and the same way of expressing themselves in all kinds of media.

The Scythians are also very interesting for us in Scandinavia, because some hundred years later the Vikings met with the Scythians. The Vikings traveled up the Russian rivers and met with the Scythians, and the Scythians themselves have been all the way to Europe to plunder and ravage.
That way the Scythians' way of seeing things influenced the way the Vikings worked their crafts - and tattoos.

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