Influences On Body Art Essay, Research Paper
How Past Cultural Body Art Has Influenced Our Society Today
It is very common to walk through the mall these days to see people with many forms of body art exposed. Tattoos and piercings surround us on a beautiful day at the beach. Body art is a world wide characteristic shared by men, women, and children of all ages. Yet where and when did all of this begin? With tattoos and piercings being an ancient form of art, it has highly influenced our modern society in many ways.
Tattoos first came about during the Bronze Age when humans first discovered the ability to make metal needles. Tattoos can date back to Egyptian tomb walls that have carvings of tattooed women. A Siberian people known as the Skythians, used to create pictures of deer and goats on themselves to and supernatural hybrids of the two animals, apparently to depict tribal myths. In the Middle Ages, both Christian crusaders and Muslim pilgrims acquired tattoos to signify that they d been to the holy places of their religions. Tattooing became popular in Europe during the 1760s, and by the late 19th century many sailors were seen with tattoos as forms as talismans.
Piercing is a practice that dates back to the earliest human cultures. In different parts of the world at different times, the act of piercing has taken on different meanings. In ancient and contemporary India, the wearing of jewelry in the nose was a means of demonstrating commitment to marriage and inspiring devotion. Beginning in the 1970s, piercing became popular among bohemian “punks” in England and America, as a way of expressing their rejection of conventional values. The Yanomamo are a people who live in the Amazon forests of Venezuela and Brazil, in a way that is probably similar to the way their ancestors lived thousands of years ago. Yanomamo men and women alike wear wooden sticks through their cheeks and the flexible skin between their chins and lips, and hang feathers, leaves and pendants from their ears. They adorn their bodies to suit their concept of beauty, and decorate their bodies with symbolic significance.
Today in our society, body art is very common to many people, no matter what their cultural back round is. In 20th century America, tattoos can be used to signify membership in elite organizations, from the Marine Corps and college fraternities to prison gangs. Tattoos are also used to show identity or rebellion. Piercing today can vary from signs of beauty to signs of individualism. Even though centuries have passed between the people of today and the people of yesterday in terms of body art, the love for the art has never left our blood.