Tattooing

5a.23 Tattooing

Tattooing

Besides being made of sandstone, the Berlin, Wilmington, Keifer, Cincinnati, and Low tablets are grooved on the back side much like whetstones, which were used for sharpening bone needles. This suggests that the tablets could have been used for tattooing. The engraved surface, covered with paint, could be pressed against a person's body, stamping it with the image. Then the design could be tattooed into the skin using fine bone needles sharpened in the grooves on the back side of the tablet. The process may have been part of an initiation into a social group. The person thus would always be identified as a member of the group.

Catalog Number: A 3490/000210
Image Number: AL05310