History of Body Modification

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There is a sub culture that is all around us. It is the art of body modification. People do different things to there bodies to make it reflect who they feel they are inside. According to Webster’s dictionary, “body modification is the permanent or semi-permanent altering of the human body for non-medical reasons, most often religious or aesthetic.” Many items that fall under this broad category are frowned upon by society. However, there are some that are accepted as well. This is a brief history of those types of modification. There are many different types of body modification. I am going to be focusing on two of the most known types: tattoos and piercings. Tattoos are pictures that have been imprinted on a person’s skin. They are put on the skin with needles that have ink on them to make them permanent. There are also non-permanent tattoos which are put on top if the skin with henna ink or temporary dyes. Piercings are holes that have been purposely made in the body of a person. Typically piercings are done in cartilage, skin, or tissue. It is done with a hollow needle, clamps and jewelry. The place is marked and the clamps hold the skin taunt and the needle is pushed through. The jewelry is inserted into the hole as the needle is pulled out. Two of the main reasons why body modification was started are religious and social. Few religions use tattoos as a sign of maturity. In ancient Catholic religion when a child, both male and female, reached puberty they were tattoo as a sign of adulthood. Other religions view tattoos as a sign of maturity. In the Italian Apennines tattoos were used as a way to reproduce the stigmata of the saint. The Aztecs, Maya, and Native Indians have used tongue piercings as part of their religious rituals. Ancient Egyptians used different kinds of piercings as signs of a person’s social status. The wealthier a person was the more elaborate the piercing. Only the Pharaoh could have the now popular navel piercing. In England during...
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