Saturday, September 10, 2016

Ancient tattoos

SKIN ART: Tattoo Taboo? Exploring The History Of Religious Ink And Facial Tattoos (Forbes). Dr. Sarah Bond of the University of Iowa gives a brief overview of the history of tattoos in Western antiquity. The following is of interest for PaleoJudaica:
Within ancient near eastern civilizations, the body had also long served as a surface for advertising mourning and religious affiliations. As Jordan Rosenblum, a professor of religious and Jewish studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told me, this was true within Judaism as well. He notes that despite the oft-uttered belief that tattooed Jews cannot be buried in a Jewish cemetery, there is a long history of tattoos within the faith. Leviticus 19.28 indeed prohibits the “gashing of the flesh,” however, tattoos appear to have been used among some Jews in the ancient Near East as a symbol of mourning the passing of loved ones.
Relevant past PaleoJudaica posts have been mostly on modern tattoos involving ancient languages and themes. Often these do not turn out well. Background here and links.