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A description of body modification and adornment as a universal culture

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In a city where it seems the norm is to have at least one tattoo or three; it is hard to remember that in other parts of the country many who chose to modify are still greeted with feelings of stigma and misunderstanding. But in order to understand the various reasons behind body modifications, you have to go back and look at its origins. That definition spans from simplest form of putting on makeup, decorative jewelry, fashion all of which are not permanent and can be altered to serve a specific need or mood or cultural phenomena to tattooing, piercing, scarification, branding and implantations all of which serve as more permanent in measure.

A Brief History of Tattoos Tattooing, which is the act of inserting types of ink into the dermis layer of the skin for various reasons, can be traced back as far as ten thousand years ago. Many early civilizations have references in script or art that represent aspects of tattooing.

A Brief History of Body Modification

This discovery documented physical evidence that tattooing had existed as far back as 3255 BC. But no matter what method a tattoo has been conducted, the reasons behind it have always been complex, intricate, and also a unique part of human evolution and culture. Piercing is defined as literally puncturing or penetrating the skin, or parts of the body. Ear piercing is perhaps the most well known and most common type of piercing and can be found worldwide.

It is a universal concept and practiced by both men and women alike. The second most commonly found piercing is nose piercing. For this reason, many tribes and cultures throughout history have chosen to adorn their noses with piercings.

The practice of nose piercing is said to have originated in the Middle East and can be traced as far back as five thousand years ago. In India for example, females traditionally pierce their left nostrils because of its association with the spiritual practice of Ayurveda a traditional holistic medicineand its symbolic representation of femininity, childbirth and reproduction.

It is considered to bring good luck to women who are with child and to lessen problems that may be associated with menstruation pains and birthing complications. Tongue piercing, on the other hand, was practiced as a bloodletting ritual by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs; who would pierce the tongue to let blood as an honor to the gods and as a means to attain a heightened spiritual conscience allowing for communication between the spirits and man.

Like nose piercings, septum piercings are also commonly found through various indigenous tribes and populations. Lip piercings have also been documented well throughout various tribes and have been used symbolically for various reasons.

In several tribes across Africa, Central and South America, lip piercings are often stretched to large proportions and clay plates or wood is inserted. The lip piercing is commonly associated with a rite of passage and as a statement of beauty in many of these tribes. Because surfaces piercings are harder to heal; they are a relatively modern practice.

There are various types of surfaces piercings such as eyebrow, neck, wrist and hip. These piercings are often practiced as part of Body Modification conventions and gatherings, and also may play a part in the fetish or BDSM community.

  • There are various types of surfaces piercings such as eyebrow, neck, wrist and hip;
  • There are various types of surfaces piercings such as eyebrow, neck, wrist and hip;
  • An introduction to Implantation Implantation is the surgical process of placing an object or substance beneath the skin, muscle and structure of the body;
  • Like nose piercings, septum piercings are also commonly found through various indigenous tribes and populations;
  • Branding can literally be defined as the act of burning into the skin;
  • Thus most who seek out these modifications are forced to go through illegal and often painful means to acquire what they desire.

No matter what type of piercing or the reason behind the act, however, it is undeniable that piercing will remain an important part of our history.

Gorgeous Septum, Monroe, and Labret Piercings Branding and Scarification Branding, Scarification though practiced extensively by many ancient cultures is still found to be more taboo in practice today. Branding can literally be defined as the act of burning into the skin. Scarification encompasses the term Branding as scarification is the practice of scratching, cutting, burning, or etching the skin with designs, words, or images.

When healed, the result is a scar, but a scar that has aesthetic, spiritual and symbolic meaning. Though not as well known or popular as other forms of body modification, branding and scarification have been found throughout history to be unique and beautiful. Intricate Scarification Piece, Before and After. An introduction to Implantation Implantation is the surgical process of placing an object or substance beneath the skin, muscle and structure of the body. Size can be bigger or smaller for personal preferences or medical reasons.

These enhancements like butt, thigh or calf implants, along with multiple other forms of cosmetic surgeries have become increasingly popular in modern times and are steadily more accepted by society as a common practice or desire. On the other hand, Transdermal Implants are implants which are found to be growing among many underground or hardcore body modification practitioners, who seek to permanently implant devices such as metal spikes, horns, transdermal jewelry, and other accents to the body that serve to further modify their current flesh or enhance pre-existing modifications.

Because of its rough healing process and chance of rejection, many people who seek these modifications must do so through finding doctors who will willingly conduct the process which is currently hard to find.

Thus most who seek out these modifications are forced to go through illegal and often painful means to acquire what they desire.

The documentary is beautiful and honest in its portrayal of the people it follows; allowing the viewers into their heads, and deepest desires; and showing us that radical modification whatever the reason may be is just another way to push the boundaries of what we can create.

Extreme Modification, Surgical Implantations. Changing History, Creating Ourselves In short, it is evident that body modification has always had a place amongst our evolution and history, and that it is a practice and art that will continue to push and challenge the way we think, change, and define ourselves and our bodies.