The History of Body Piercing – Interesting Facts

Piercing is an ancient form of body modification. Almost all the cultures have practiced it at some time and nowadays piercing is extremely widespread in Western Europe and America and is rather popular in other countries.

Ancient Egypt is recorded to be the first place where pierced mummified body was found. The ear piercing it has is said to be done more than 5000 years ago. There were large gauge plugs in the ears of this body. Certain types of body piercing in ancient Egypt were restricted and even the royal family followed those rules. The interesting fact about navel piercing is that only Pharaoh had the right to have his navel pierced. And any man who got or was going to have his navel pierced would be executed. Egyptians from the higher class had the right to wear earring, displaying in such way their wealth.

Even in the Bible there are some words about the piercing. In Biblical times piercing was a sign of attractiveness and status.

Romans pierced their body not for the sake of beauty but for practical purpose. They had their nipples pierced in order to signify their virility and strength. Pierced navel of men symbolized patient dedication to the Roman Empire and courage and even Julius Caesar had pierced nipples. Gladiators had genital piercing through the head of the penis to prevent serious injury in the combat. They tied the organ back to the testicles with leather stripe that was hold by the ring in the penis.

In the ancient tribes of Maya, Aztecs and American Indians tongue piercing was a part of their religious rituals. They believed the blood-letting ritual of piercing of the tongue bring them closer to their gods. Septum piercing in the Maya and Aztec warrior tribes was done to frighten the enemies. They also wore gold or jade labrets in their lips to show their attractiveness and to enhance sexuality. In the Solomon Island and New Guinea septum piercing was also widespread. They used bone, feather and tusks for that purpose. So did women in Central and South America. The holes in their lips were stretched to incredible sizes and that was believed to be very attractive.

During Dark Ages Medieval church restricted piercing and this type of body modification died down. But during the Renaissance piercing was back. It was widespread among the sailors to pierce one of the ears. Firstly, it showed their long-distant adventures and secondly the gold earring was the price for the proper Christian burial of a sailor who died in the shipwreck and was found on the shore. Noble men during Elizabethan era had at least one ear pierced. Pierced nipples with sparkling rings and chains joining both nipples were common with royal women. The upper crust of society in Europe at that time and later pierced their nipples and genitals both for aesthetic purpose and delightful pleasure.

The Victorian age piercing was the time when piercing began to become popular with new strength. Prince Albert piercing is named after the husband of Queen Victoria Prince Albert who had his penis pierced in order to wear the tight-fitting trousers that was very popular at that time. Later other types of genital piercing became popular both with men and women. At the end of the 19th century almost all women had their nipples pierced. During the first half of the 20th century ear piercing as well other piercings almost died out and piercing regained its popularity in the 1960th when hippies began to wear nose rings. Later the interest in body piercing grew and celebrities, singers and sport stars began to do and to show their piercings. And nowadays all imaginable types of piercing are available.

History of Ear Gauging in Tribal Civilizations

A study of the history of ear gauging indicates the practice to be as old as recorded human history. For males, this form of ear piercing has been a symbol of status, while for women, in addition to being used as means of bodily decoration, it has also been employed to signify the attainment of womanhood.

Ear gauging, which is also referred to as ear stretching, is the stretching of ear lobe piercings to larger diameters than that of the original piercing. It is a form of body enhancement or beautification that many young western people adopt to look ‘different’ from the usual crowd. However, this is not a modern form of body piercing, since it has been around for as long as archaeological records exist.

In many cases, ear gauging has been used historically to indicate the standing of members of a specific tribe, and in many respects this is still the situation today. Stretched piercings have been, and still are, a reflection on the individual’s sexual capability and also their superiority over other males in the tribe. The larger the stretching, the more important the individual.

Otzi the Iceman is a prime example of mummies known to have stretched ears. This is the earliest known example of ear gauging, Otzi having 7-11 mm ear piercings during 3300 BC. It has been suggested that the stretching of the ears noted in depictions of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, may have been caused by the weight of the gold jewelry he wore, but this is mere supposition.

It is supported, however, by the fact that the Masai tribe of Kenya and the Lahu and Karen-Paduang people of Thailand use this ‘gravity’ technique to stretch their piercings. Let us have a look at the ear gauging practices used today by various cultures.

A. Mursi Tribal Women

The Mursi is an Ethiopian tribe where the women are obliged to wear plates in their gauged ears and on their bottom lip. About a year prior to her marriage, or at about 15 years of age, a Mursi girl’s lip will be pierced by her mother and a wooden peg pushed through the incision.

Once healed, the peg is changed for a larger diameter one. Eventually, the peg is replaced by a plate of clay or wood, and this plate is successively changed for larger diameter ones until the required diameter is attained – from around 8 – 22 cm in diameter (3 – 9 inches). Once these plates have been secured, she receives a higher degree of respect than those without them, and is known as a ‘Bhansanai’.

These lip and ear plates need not be worn permanently, but are an expected adornment during special occasions such as during weddings and other celebrations, and when they serve food to men. Today, young women can generally make their own decision as to whether or not they follow this tradition.

B. The Masai People of Kenya

The practice of ear gauging has been common among Masai men and women for thousands of years. In recent years, however, most young men have not been following this custom, although you will still find many Masai women wearing ear decorations made from stones, cross-cut elephant tusks, wood and animal bones.

The original piercing is carried out using a thorn, sharpened twig or a sharp knife point. Once healed, ear gauging is then carried out by wearing increasingly heavy jewellery that pulls the lobe down and stretches the piercing. This is the traditional way of gauging ears in the more primitive cultures, although many Masai today will use proper ear gauging techniques, such as their own versions of insertion tapers or taper spikes. Beads are a common form of ornamentation, although plugs made from bone, tusks and wood are also used.

C. The African Fulani Tribe

Fulani women from Nigeria and Central Africa tend to use smaller diameter ear gauges, and decorate them using large gold domes or hoops carrying earrings. A Fulani child will have her ears pierced at around 3 years old, although they may not be stretched until she is older. The gauges used by Fulani women are relatively small compared to the Masai and Mursi, although the jewellery can be larger.

D. Asian Hill Tribes

Of the various hill tribes, the only two known to practice ear gauging are the Lahu from Thailand, and the Karen-Padaung (Longnecks) from Myanmar (Burma) and also the Phrae province in Thailand. That latter tribe are best known for their neck rings, offering the appearance of long necks, but both cultures believe the ear to be sacred and the more jewellery they can wear on the better. By gauging their ears, they are able to wear the maximum amount of jewellery they believe possible.

E. Mexican and Central American Civilizations

In Mayan and Aztec society, ear gauging was regarded as desirable for males. There are many Mayan representations of men with flares and ear plugs (ear spools) in gauged ears, and the material used was indicative of the social standing of the wearer. Jade ear plugs were worn by the higher classes, while the rest would use bone, stone, wood and other materials. In central Mexico, the craftsmanship of the Aztecs is evident in the ear gauging plugs and ornaments of gold and silver, though the lower classes would adorn their stretches earlobes with shells, copper and wood among many other imaginative materials.

Ear gauging has been carried out worldwide, and among other notable areas involved in this practice are Japan, where the Ainu used ear jewellery made from shells, bone and a ball and ring known as Ninkari. There are many other cultures worldwide where ear gauging was a part of their life, and even today many people regard ear stretching as a fashion statement and a way of expressing their own personality and individuality.

Do’s and Don’ts When Going for Ear Stretching for the First Time

If done the wrong way, ear stretching can give you unbearable pain, and can even kill your ears, (yes, literally!). Ear stretching is the latest trend, in which, one punctures and stretches one’s ear lobes, to an extreme level, wears a stylish carved jewelry (as plugs and tunnels) in the stretched part. Some traditionalists believe that it is irksome or disturbing, but gauged ears look pretty appealing and attractive. However, this body art should be done very carefully. If you are going to stretch your ear lobes for the first time, here are a few Dos and Don’ts to follow. But before we proceed to that, let us have a look at some consideration, before you step into a professional body art workshop -

There’s no looking back! When you get your earlobes stretched, remember that it is a permanent fix, your old natural ears would never return. It is also true with piercing. Cosmetic surgery is the only possible repair for stretched ears. So, before you go for ear stretching, you should make up your mind, and decide, if you really want this or not.

Consult a renowned body art center – If some accident occurs, because of the mishandling or the lack of experience of the piercer, you wouldn’t be able to get your old natural ears back. To avoid such (and any) mishaps, visiting a professional piercer is always advisable.

Dos and Don’ts

Being a newcomer to the ear stretching fashion, there must be running around some rumors, in your mind, which you heard from someone, or one of the friends or relatives of someone. Well, if you have decided to stretch your earlobes, you should approach with a positive frame of mind. Here are some clear suggestions or Dos and Don’ts -

Suggested Material – Surgical stainless steel is considered as the best material for ear plugs or body art jewelries, for the first timers. After the stretching is healed, you can wear charms made up of any material.

Recommended Size – ‘Slow and steady wins the race’ is one of the most heard stories of all time. When stretching your ears for the first time, you can use the tapers starting from 14G to 18G, based on the structuring of your ears and lobes.

Reducing the Pain – There are a number of solutions – like composition of Karanja oil and Jojoba Oil – which you can apply while inserting the drill through your lobes. These are naturally medicated oils that lower the pain during the procedure, and help healing the skin more quickly. You should never use any water base solution while stretching your earlobes.

Bleeding - If it bleeds, you should stop, and wait for the injury to recover completely. Ideally, there are very less chances of bleeding, but when it happens, you should discontinue it for a while.

Graphic Design and Its Genre

Graphic design is originally a skilful combination of texts and pictures in advertisements, magazines, books, etc that functions as an effective means of visual communication.

It refers to a number of artistic and professional disciplines which focus on visual communication and presentation. Different methods and devices are used to create and combine: symbols, images, styles and words to create a visual representation of ideas and messages.

To be more precise, it is a creative process where generally the clients, designers and sign-makers put their head together to chalk out a sign, symbol, and design in order to convey a specific message (or messages) to a targeted audience. In a phrase you can say graphic design “Visual Communication or Communication Design.”

A Graphic web design might use visual arts, typography and page layout techniques to produce its final result. Graphic design often includes both processes designing for communication and the products (designs).

Types of Graphic Web Design:

Basically it can be categorized into four distinct categories:

1. Image-based

2. Type-based

3. Image and type

4. Symbols, logos and logotypes

Image-based

This category includes graphic designs to represent the ideas which a company or web designer wants to convey. It functions as a powerful and compelling tool of communication, conveying not only information but also moods and emotions. People also respond to images according to their perception, personalities, associations, and previous experience.

Image based design must cover the entire massage and a few words are allowed if it badly needs. Massage may be conveyed in different ways like: photography, paint, drawing, or graphic.

Type-based

Sometime designers choose words to convey a message in a different ways writers do. They use whether typography or handmade lettering to perform many communication functions.

Image and type

Web Designers sometimes combine images and typography to convey clients’ message to the audience. They use words (typography) and images (photography, illustration, and fine art) to make a complete message.

Symbols, logos and logotypes

Symbols, logos are the highly condensed and microcosm of information or identification of a company. Here some particular Symbols, logos encapsulate a company-profile, its identification, its product service, its goals, mission and vision.