Currently reading : Images of Tattooed Picts

Images of Tattooed Picts

4 June 2013

Author : julia-silverman

Despite their name (from the Latin word pictus: painted, decorated), nobody knows for sure whether the Picts truly had tattoos. By the 16th Century, as colonization of “The New World” was underway, artists and writers began cataloguing descriptions and images of “primitive” tribal people, both across the Atlantic and at home (but, it’s worth noting, from many centuries prior). In 1585, Roanoke settler Thomas Harriot released A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia with illustrations by John White depicting Native Americans hunting, fishing, etc. A supposedly sympathetic work, the volume included engravings of the Celtic Picts, nearly nude and bodies covered with designs, to show “that the inhabitants of the Great Bretannie have been in times past as savage as those of Virginia.” [1]

A Young Daughter of the Picts
A Young Daughter of the Picts, Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, c. 1585
Pictish Man and Pictish Woman, John White, 16th Century
True Pict
True Pict, Theodor de Bry, c.1590

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