Tattoo Culture: Egypt


Tattoos have been present in Egypt since ancient times, with women the most likely to have tattoos and it’s thought that tattoos in Egypt originate from approximately 4,000 BCE. A mummy named Amunet, dated to 4160 BCE, possesses circular patterns around her naval, and another mummy diamond patterns alongside both her arms and chest.

In ancient Egypt, tattoos were used as a symbol of power and female empowerment, which is why tattoos are typically found on female mummies.

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Eyes of Ra and Horus

Both the Eye of Horus and the Eye of Ra belonged to the god Horus in the original mythology. The god Horus was represented by the moon and the sun, which were thought to have given birth to man. The Eye of Horus, the left eye, symbolises the cycle of life and death.

The right eye, the Eye of Ra, is considered to be the ultimate protector and the eternal watcher of men. It represents safety, and the assurance that all will be well.


The Ankh symbolises the key of life, eternity, and love, and is often portrayed together with the Eye of Ra. Symbolising endurance and strength, pyramids are a common Egyptian-themed tattoo. Featuring the head of a human and the body of a lion, the sphinx is a mythical creature known for asking riddles and threatening with death if people didn't solve them. It symbolises gambling and danger, being a powerful symbol.

Considered to be one of the world's seven wonders, pyramids are magnificent works of architecture that have stood for millennia and they signify endurance and strength. Hieroglyphics are widely used in tattoos, becoming a stunning display of an ancient language. Easily translatable to Hieroglyphics,  any word or sentence can be incorporated.


Kings and Queens

The tattoo of a pharaoh represents power and leadership, both in life and death. King Tutankhamen is often utilised in tattoos to symbolise royalty and power with a hint of hedonism, as his opulent, golden death mask is still admired to this day. As one of Egypt’s greatest queens, Queen Nefertiti represents progress and power, as she led a monotheist revolution.

Gods and Goddesses

The god Anubis is depicted with the head of a jackal, representing death and the afterlife. As a strong warrior, it represents the positive side of death, such as protection, respect, and peace. The goddess Isis symbolises motherhood, fertility, and family.

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