Body Modification – Body Piercing


Body piercing has become a significant trend in Western culture. Ear piercing came into practice in the early 1980’s when modern piercing techniques were invented and became hygienic. Western culture has no known history or tradition of body piercing but is seen by many as teenage rebellion and by the teens as significant, ritualistic body modification with a cult following, contributing to a sense of belonging. The body art scene started on the West Coast and now many kids and adults can be seen all over the world with nose rings, eyebrow and lip piercings and stretched ear loops. Another facet of body piercing called play piercing is performed purely for the sensation of being pierced, the holes made in the body are not permanent and done purely for adornment and aesthetics.

Piercing has its origins 4,000 years ago in the Middle East and mentions of ‘Shanf’ (nose ring) are recorded in the body. Traditionally, this practice is seen in the nomadic African Beja and Berber tribes and among the Middle Eastern Bedouins, denoting wealth and status upon a woman at the time of marriage. In 16th century India, nose piercing became fashionable as a trend from the Middle East and the Moghul emperors. The woman’s nose is most commonly pierced in the left nostril in association with Ayurvedic medicinal principles relating to the female’s reproductive organs, enabling an easier childbirth and easing menstrual pain. Western nose piercing came from hippies traveling to India during the 1960’s fascination with Indian culture and saw a further popularity in the late 1970’s Punk movement as a counter-culture, anti-conservative statement.

The ancient Aztecs, Mayans and American Northwest Native tribes used tongue piercing to offer blood and mollify the gods, often producing an altered state in the pierced priest or shaman to more effectively communicate with the gods. Pierced ears and earlobes are the earliest recorded examples of body piercing. Pierced ears in a body of a mummified man found in an Austrian Glacier in 1991 was found to be dated over 5,000 years old. Ear piercing has protective symbology in primitive cultures for averting evil spirits from entering the body through the ears. Ear piercing was not restricted to women’s adornment, “As the Roman Republic grew more effeminate with wealth and luxury, earrings were more popular among men than women; no less a he-man than Julius Caesar brought back to repute and fashion the use of rings in the ears of men.” “Jewels & Women; The Romance, Magic and Art of Feminine Adornment” Marianne Ostier, Horizon Press, New York, 1958

The Dogon tribe of Mali and the Nuba of Ethiopia pierce their lips for religious implications. In Central Africa and South American native tribes, lip or Labret piercing is performed with wooden or clay plates, stretching the lower and upper lips to large proportions. Aztec and Mayan ancients used labret piercings to signify weath and higher caste with gold serpent-shaped discs often decorated with brilliant stones, jade or obsidion. Walrus ivy, bone, wood or abalone shell were used for labrets in Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest as well as the Inuit of northern Canada and Alaska. Some of the most extreme examples of ritual lip piercing and stretching can be seen in the Djinja women in the Chari river area of the Central African Republic and Chad. Tribesmen stretch the lips of their prospective wives as part of a marriage ritual whereby the young woman’s lip is stretched up to 24cm by adulthood.

Warrior cultures of the Iranian Jaya, New Gunea and the Solomon Islands pierce the septum with pig tusks, feathers, wood and bone.

The Asmat tribe of the Jaya pierce the septum up to 25mm using leg bones from a pig or a tibia bone from a slain enemy for ornamentation and prestige. Aztecs, Mayas and Incas pierced the septum with gold and jade and this custom can be seen in the Panamanian tribe of Cuna Indians using thick gold rings. India and Nepal native tribes also practice septum piercing. The nose and septum piercings in Northern Indian nomadic tribespeople of Himichal Pradesh and Rajasthan called ‘bulak’ are the largest known nose-rings. The bulak are sometimes decorated with stones and large enough to cover most of the mouth and cheek and must be lifted while eating. Pendants are added to the septum piercing in Tibet.

In more civilized and traditionally sophisticated cultures, nipple piercing was created to accentuate the breasts. In the mid 14th century, Queen Isabella of Bavaria wore dresses with a neckline extending to the navel, exposing the breasts. This style of dress led to nipple adornment with diamond studded rings and piercing both nipples, extending a chain through both. This style of piercing appeared again in the 1890’s in Paris where ‘bosom rings’ were sold and became fashionable in upper class social circles.


Body Art Modification: Make a Style Statement With Body Piercing and Tattoo


Body Art: Is It Risky?

Body art has always been a topic of controversy. According to many people, it is a little risky and one may also get injured. There is a lot of controversy involved with body art but the fact is that it is becoming more and more popular among the young generation.

Though the purpose of body art was to scare the enemies in the ancient times but it is now a mere style statement. It is your personal choice to get your body pierced the way you want but you should always protect yourself from any infection or injury.

Educate Yourself

Remember, it’s very important to educate yourself about tattoos and piercings. Firstly, you should learn about the tattoo process. Ask the professional about the different risks involved with the tattoo process. The very first question you should ask yourself is whether you actually want a tattoo or perhaps trying to imitate someone.

If your inner voice says you really want a tattoo then your next task is to look for a professional artist. A tattoo or any other form of body art says everything about your personality. So it’s very important to choose the right spot and design. Look at some of the different piercings offered by the body art parlours:-

Different Types Of Piercings

  • Lip piercing
  • Tongue piercing
  • Tragus piercing
  • Surface piercing
  • Corset piercing
  • Smiley piercing
  • Nape piercing
  • Hip piercing
  • Collarbone piercing

Look For A Reputed Tattoo Parlour

Presently there are many body art shops in existence. However, it is a difficult task to choose the best body art shop. It is very important to find how long the art shop has been in business. This will help you to know how much experience they have.

When you have decided to get a tattoo you should now look for a professional artist/body art parlour. It is very important to choose a good parlour. Your chosen parlour can either design a great tattoo or ruin it completely. Therefore you should always make sure that the artists you have chosen are professionally trained and experienced.


One of the best ways to find a shop locally is always by utilizing the online medium. Always choose a parlour which has a lot of positive reviews from happy and satisfied customers. Take some time to discuss about the safety rules with the professional artist. When you have made a list of the best tattoo shops in your area, visit the parlours to get an idea about their services.


An Epigrammatic History of Body Modification & Piercing


Body modification started as a taboo in ancient times. When it all started, it was more like taboo, which was practiced as some sort of sacrifice, tradition, or myth. But today, it is a blooming fashion culture, among fashionistas, especially teenagers and youngsters all over the world.

The long-established and widely-accepted annotation of body modification is: It is a practice in which your body parts are reshaped, repurposed, or modified, to meet some additional purposes. When you go for body modification, you visit a body modification shop or specialist that makes the alterations in your body, using his unique equipment, following a hygienic, meditated procedure.

It is like personalizing your body to exhibit your unique fashion sense.

Body Piercing is also a kind of modification, in which the professional creates a hole or puncture in certain body parts – like ear, eyebrows, chin, lips, tongue, belly, nose, nipples, and genitals – in which piercing jewelries are worn. Some of the jewelries that are worn in pierced body parts are: navel rings, nose rings, barbells, curvatures, etc.

Stretching – Earlobe and lip stretching looks like a painful fashion trend. The earlobes are stretched to an extreme extent, and adorned with distinctive stretching jewelries like ear tapers, ear gauges, and tunnels. However, it is not as painful as it seems like. But, when stretching your earlobes, the suggested precautionary measures should be kept in consideration. Stretching carelessly may encumber your overall look permanently.

Tattooing – Technically, getting tattoos is also considered as a stream of body modification, when practicing which, the color/texture of your skin changes everlastingly. However, today, it has a separate history and identity, and is popular among herds all over.

The following pointers enlighten how this fashion trend evolved over time-

  • According to archeologists, piercing is not ancient thing. Though, why exactly the primitive tribes used it is still unrevealed.
  • A mummified body has been recovered in Austria, which as per the studies; it is more than five thousand years old. This mummy has her ears pierced.
  • Researchers have also unearthed ancient earrings at an archeological site in an ancient Sumerian city.
  • The Holy Bible also has several mentions of earrings.
  • The mentions of earrings can also be found in the oldest text on earth, Rigveda.
  • Nose rings also root back to before Christ era, in 1500 BC.
  • Body piercing turned popular in the decade of 1970s, following some blockbuster Hollywood movies.
  • Today, it is one of the most commonly seen fashion trends in the world. Celebrities, fashion models, sportspersons, etc. are to thank for this new fashion trend.

It is because of the human nature which always keeps aspiring for something new that we came across several inventions and milestones in the history of evolution. The fashion of body modification is an example to the previously made statement. Be it whichever reason or purpose, for which we, the people started this, today it has become a magnificent fashion statement all over the globe.