The Origins Of Body Modification; Tattoos and piercings

Body modification refers to intentionally altering an individual’s body for non-medical purposes like religious reasons, for rites of passage or religious and beauty purposes. Different types or body moderation started at different times. For thousands of years, some have been in existence while others came to light just recently. Tattoos and body piercing are the most common ways associated with body modification. Other types include; tongue piercings, body art like tattoos, neck rings, subdermal implants, ear shaping, foot binding, scarification, branding, surgical implants among others.The decision made by a person to get body modification can be due to different reasons but most people usually brush it off as a cry for attention seeking or being rebellious since they are not familiar with the history of tattoos and piercings and what they have become in the mainstream culture. Click here for more information.    

Although the various means of modifying your body cannot be traced back to a single culture or continent, It is believed that the very oldest documented tattooed person was the Iceman Otzi and in 1991, his body was found but had died in 3300 bc. Generally, tattoo culture is said to have originated well over 10,000 years ago. On mummified bodies of egyptian people, tattoos of mythical creatures as well as animals were found.Roman emperor, Constantine prohibited tattoos when Christianity was on the rise, because they were associated with Criminals and paganism. The Nazis would tattoo Jews on their arms during Holocaust while Romans tattooed their criminals and slaves. In every period in History, there has been a time when tattooing has been thought of a vice and a taboo but they do become more mainstream each and every day because of new techniques discovered as well advancement made in the modern technology.      

The Origins Of Body Modification; Tattoos and piercings

Nose piercing is also a common form that is used for body modification. In thousands of years, it has been practiced. The first recorded nose piercings were about recorded roughly 4000 years in Middle East and are named in Bible in the book of Genesis chapter 24 verse 22 during the 16th century. The culture that originated from the Middle East was then introduced to Indians. There was no nose piercing in America or general west not until a group of people who had initially travelled to India after which they introduced that culture into the united states.

The origin of tongue piercings is ancient Aztecs since they practiced a ritual where blood meant to be offered to the gods was drawn from the tongue creating an altered state where the sharmans could communicates with the gods. Piercing of the lips had also gained popularity and were purely reserved for the male members. The ear piercings are believed have originated for some magical purposes. There were some naive beliefs among some tribes which stated that it was possible for demons to enter into a person’s body through their ears and putting metal in them would repel the evil spirits and this created a need for ear piercing.They were also done for ritual purposes, for instance when a father and mother would pierce each ear of a child to symbolize that the child depended on both for survival.

For more information about body modification, visit: http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Fall2000/Keith/Frameset.htm