Saturday, February 12, 2011

The History of Body Piercings

The History of Body PiercingsThe history of body piercing can be traced back to the ancient times when the primitive tribes and clans practiced this unique art of body modification. The exclusive practice of body piercing was prevalent among the jungle tribes in South America, Africa and Indonesia. The religious castes of India and the Pharahos of Egypt too indulged in this practice.

Body piercing has existed since time immemorial and the practice is believed to be over thousands of years old. It was in the past used as a means to mirror personal expression and was an integral part of religious ritual. Body piercing was also used as a symbol that distinguished the royals from the common people. In recent times body piercing is closely linked to fashion trends.

The Egyptians were fond of embellishing themselves richly, and specific kinds of body piercing were considered to be the exclusive privilege of the royal family. In reality, apart from the pharaoh none could get his navel pierced. Any one found guilty of attempting to acquire a belly button ring could face the death penalty. It was common practice for all wealthy Egyptians to wear earrings which was an ostentatious attempt to exhibit their affluence and highlight their beauty. Intricate enameled and gold earrings often depicted elements of nature.

Romans practiced the art of body piercing with specific aims in view. Roman centurions pierced their nipples not for its appeal, but to indicate their vigor and potency. It was a mark of distinction that confirmed the centurion’s commitment to the Roman Empire. As a sign, it was vital and performed a definite role, uniting and linking the army. Julius Caesar too had his nipples pierced to display his prowess and his association with his men.

Gladiators who were regarded as slaves had their genital pierced through the head of the penis. This was done with a definite purpose. The ring that was placed around the head of the penis was utilized in fastening the organ back to the testicles by means of a strip of leather. In gladiatorial contests, this helped in averting severe injuries. A fairly big ring or bar in place also ensured that the slave could not indulge in sex without the master’s approval.

The ancient Aztecs, Maya and a number of American Indians indulged in the custom of tongue piercing which was closely associated with their religious ceremonies. It was considered as a means of appeasing their gods and in the process getting closer to them. It was also deemed as a form of ceremonial blood-offering. The Aztec and Maya were known for their skills as great warriors and they indulged in septum piercing so that they seemed more ferocious to their enemies.

The unique art of body piercing was prevalent among the primitive tribes of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands who generally used bones, tusks and feathers to embellish their bodies in a grand manner.

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