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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.


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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Spring is in the air for ex-Geordie Shore star Stephanie Snowdon as she shows off her new body art.
This series of seven concise, large-print volumes with many captioned photos covers implants, body piercing, scarification, tattoos, tattoo removal, "express yourself" (why people get body art), and "think before you ink." Each volume includes an introduction and brief history of the topic followed by procedures and recommendations concerning implementation.
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TATTOOS are increasingly common and perceptions of body art are changing to become more liberal.
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King of Ink Land King Body Art The Extreme Ink-ite, to give him his full name, will strip in a search to find his perfect partner on Channel 4's new show Science of Attraction, made by the producers of hit show Gogglebox.
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