seekingnevada (seekingnevada) wrote in little_details,

Gold: Tattoos, paints, other uses?

Setting: Fantasy. Some influence from western Medieval, but also from Tan Dynasty to Song Dynasty China (10th-14th century). The story is set in a city-within-a-city which forms the seat of the Empire; the Empress is effectively an absolute monarch. Magic exists, but is very much feared and frowned upon.

Outline of the magic system, in case it becomes relevant:

Magic system: The elements are defined as air, earth/water, and light (what is needed for plants to grow). It has been divided roughly thus:
  • Air magic - Witchcraft (random, innate). Mostly focused on divination of past, present or future, and the discovery of truth. Witches are particularly mistrusted by the townspeople but are often protected by the law because of the roles they can play in bringing about justice.
  • Earth/water magic - Wizardry (innate or learned, always requires training). Mostly focused on healing. Wizardry is accepted by the people, but it is often pretended that it is 'not really magic'.
  • Light magic - Magecraft (genetic, innate). Magecraft is the magic with the possibility of creating illusions and of giving or taking energy from things. Mages are generally feared and hated by the people and the law alike.
  • Sorcery (random, innate). Might be considered 'traditional' fantasy magic - it has most of the skills of the above, though it is never so strong in any of them, but also has abilities such as communicating with spirits, alchemy-like abilities, etc.
  • Necromancy (always learned). Magic involving the transferral of life force (imperfectly, and without ever being able to create energy), possession, the transferral of skills etc. However, it is the only magic which seems to have possibilities of raising the dead.

Question: The Empress is obsessed with gold due to its apparently incorruptable status. I already have the following uses for it: thread/cloth of gold, gold mesh, jewellery/ornamentation, dental work, furniture/surroundings, the use of gold leaf in glass, the use of gold leaf in food or drink, and gold paint created out of gum arabic, water and gold leaf. These gives me chances to, so to speak, gild the Empress's world.

1) However, I'm wondering whether it's possible to create gold tattoos or -- even more preferable -- create some sort of gold implant into the body. I'm willing for this to either by in the design of some sort of microdermal implants or in terms of placing the gold permanently into a wound in the skin made by cutting or scarification. Is this possible? I've tried doing various searches, but there's nothing coming up that's really what I'm after.

2) What I have managed to find is that gold beads are used in some medical situations (apparently mostly on dogs? The results somewhat confused me) by being injected under the skin. How common is this? Are there dangers of migration or of just outright getting the injection wrong? The magic in the world means that there is a significantly decreased danger of infection and the like, as healing magic is available, but I'd be interested to know if the risks are still there.

3) Are there any other uses of gold that I've missed during my brainstorming and searches? This is a bit more general, to be honest.

Searches done:

Variations on "gold paint", "gold tattoos", "gold implants", "gold transdermal implants", "gold microdermal implants", "microdermal implants", "gold bead implants" and the like. Also searched some body modification websites and lists of body modifications that can be done. Also "gold ornamentions", "gold body ornaments", "body ornamentation".

For question three, I've also searched "gold", "uses of gold".

ETA: Let's try putting on all the tags this time.
Tags: ~body modification: piercings, ~body modification: tattoos, ~metals
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