body-marking


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body-marking,

painting, tattooing, or scarification (cutting or burning) of the body for ritual, esthetic, medicinal, magic, or religious purposes. Evidence from prehistoric burials, rock carvings, and paintings indicates that body-marking existed in ancient times; ethnographic studies show that it is still practiced today. Markings may indicate religious dedication or alliance with a particular god; they may also serve as protection against some evil such as a disease, as identification with a certain group, such as the tribe, or as evidence of personal rank or status within the group. Among examples of the widespread custom of painting the body are the red ocher found in prehistoric burial sites, the blue woad of the ancient Britons, kohl used in Asia to enhance the beauty of the eyes, the use of henna on the fingernails in the Middle East, and the war paint of some Native Americans. The tattootattoo,
the marking of the skin with punctures into which pigment is rubbed. The word originates from the Tahitian tattau [to mark]. The term is sometimes extended to scarification, which consists of skin incisions into which irritants may be rubbed to produce a permanent
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 is an extension of the practice, and ancient evidence for it dates to c.3000 B.C., on the body of a mummified man found in the Alps in 1991. Scarification was used in ancient times as a property mark for slaves and more recently in Europe and elsewhere, until the latter part of the 19th cent., for the identification of criminals. Besides being employed for magical or ritual purposes, scarification has also been used for its supposed curative powers. The forms used in Africa include stretched lips and earlobes, filed teeth, and flattened skulls.

Bibliography

See W. D. Hambly, The History of Tattooing and its Significance (1925); H. Field, Body-Marking in Southwestern Asia (1958); W. C. Handy, Forever the Land of Men (1965).

References in periodicals archive ?
Though the Bible offers no other text than Leviticus 19:28 with the term ketovet ka'aka, it does record two instances of body-marking.
Given the fact that in China permanent body-marking was highly stigmatized, and cause for social ostracism, the information given in the Youyang zazu and other texts on tattoo is thought-provoking and valuable.
Despite the short- and long-term risks associated with amateur tattoos and body-marking practices, little is known about the development of attitudes toward them or about children's and adolescents' awareness of the health and social consequences.