Where Did Egyptians Apply Tattoos?

did-egyptians-apply-tattoos Credit: LTL / Contributor/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

According to the Smithsonian, in Ancient Egypt tattoos were primarily a female custom. Some believed that because tattoos were only found on females that they symbolized low-class, dancing girls, but further research shows that the tattoos may be linked to fertility and pregnancy.

Tattoos in ancient Egypt are thought to have a therapeutic role and resembled a sort of permanent amulet for conception and pregnancy. According to the Smithsonian, this is supported by the placement of tattoos on the abdomen, upper thighs, and breasts. The designs of the abdomen in particular seem to represent a net, and when the belly expands during pregnancy the net tattoo design would expand and resemble the bead nets that were placed over mummies to protect them.

The tattoos at the top of the thighs would oftentimes be a figure of the household deity Bes, states Smithsonian. It is believed that the tattoos were meant to safeguard a pregnancy since Bes was the protector of women in labor and the tops of the thighs would be sensible placement for such deity. Even a high status priestess named Amunet was found to have these tattoos, further proving that it was not just low-class or dancing girls who would get them.