Archeologists have discovered tattoos on mummies in Peru dating back as far as 500 BC. The mummies were found in the Chiribaya Alta region of southern Peru and while many of the tattoos were decorative, there is evidence that some were therapeutic…
The mummy of a women featured decorative tattoos on her fingers and arms, but the tattoos on her neck showed a knowledge of acupuncture. The decorative tattoos were inked in soot, while the neck tattoos were colored with partially burned plant materials, probably herbs. The archeologists concluded that it was likely the tattoos on the woman’s neck were placed there as a remedy for pain in the neck and upper back. The tattoos correspond with acupuncture points used to treat pain in these areas of the body. While tattoos have always been considered decorative, it may be the ancient Andean tribes used them as a cure or to treat pain. Other mummies from this area show intricate decorative tattoos on the arms, face and body.
Peruvian Tribal Tattoos
As a rule, tribal tattoos are inked in one color, usually black. They are often stylized representations of animals that were believed by the ancients to offer protection or impart strength. Peruvian tribal tattoos show the influence of Inca artwork in their intricate patterns. One of the most popular Peruvian tribal tattoos is the representation of the sun. Many tattoo sites advertise Peruvian tribal designs, but actually display Mayan and Aztec designs. Mayan and Aztec designs often display recognizable faces of warriors and gods, while the traditional native tattoos of Peru are more stylized featuring intricate designs with lines, swirls and geometric shapes. A stylized eye in the design is a common theme. While much of the influence is from Inca artwork, some of the designs of the Incas show the influence of earlier civilizations in the Andes.
Peruvian Lily Tattoos
The symbolism of lilies dates back many centuries and crosses many cultures. In early Christianity, the white lily was a symbol of purity and Chasity. The Peruvian lily is a particularly spectacular variety which grows in many colors. It is associated with friendship and devotion and many people around the world have chosen a representation of the Peruvian lily as a tattoo. In most cases, lily tattoos are not tribal since usually feature several colors. Red and pink are especially popular among women who choose the tattoo but men also favor red over other colors. Since people often choose tattoos as a way to memorialize lost friends or loved ones, as a symbol of friendship and devotion the Peruvian lily is particularly apt.
Tattoos are an ancient art form in many cultures and each culture has their own distinctive form of the art. The grace and beauty of traditional Peruvian tattoos makes them a favorite with tattoo artists and their customers.