Beginning with cultural piercings, the form of body art wasn’t just an expression of your individual style but was also a part of your life and a way of performing rituals. Piercing history dates, from what we know, all the way back to 4,000 years ago in the Middle East and even further in other countries. According to research the first known piercing was in the lobe, a man was found frozen with his ears stretched by 11 millimetres in diameter. Many tribes picked up beliefs from piercings, whether it was to stop demons or to show that they had become a woman or a man. Some of the cultural piercings that were used back in tribes and in ancient times consist of:
Ear Piercings: This type of body modification was found in Otzi, we don’t know what they used them for. However, later on tribes believed that demons could enter the body through the ears and they thought that piercing the lobe would stop them because of the metal.
Tongue Piercings: These were first used as a part of rituals in ancient Aztecs Mayas, Kawkiutul and Tlinglit tribes.
Nipple Piercings: Used in the Roman times, this type of piercing was used to show the strength and bravery of a soldier and they would hang their capes off of their breastplates during battle. Women’s nipple piercings, however, didn’t become known until the 14th century when women wore their dresses under the bust line and would decorate them with gold jewellery.
All of the cultural jewellery that was used as parts of ceremonies and tribes have now become extremely popular and are used as a sign or individuality mostly. The only piercing, which is very popular today, that wasn’t used in tribes is the naval piercing; this only became a type of body art recently but it is still very commonly performed in modern culture. All piercings originate from somewhere and all have different meanings, both men and women can express themselves with body art, whether it’s cultural piercings or not.
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