History of body piercing

Body modifications are probably one of the unique traits of human beings and, in one form or another has been practiced for over 30,000 years by our ancestors.

Origin of the piercing

Piercing PharaonAustralian Aborigines practiced sub-incision of penis elongation and lips. The ancient Egyptians and Nubians pierced their ears and used a simple technique to make tattoos. The ancient South American cultures like the Aztecs and Mayas pierced their tongue during the ritual to offer their blood.

The tributes of Native Americans and Inuit pierced their lips and wore jewelry made of bone. They also used the ear-piercing for their social status. Each hole was a celebration that was expensive to the person who was being drilled, thus showing the financial health of the latter.

The peoples of the Pacific Islands have practiced piercing ears, noses, genitals and the lobe that extends for generations. The women of Borneo practiced stretching and piercing of the lips in an effort to have a suitable husband.

The first body jewelry

Indian PiercingThe discovery of jewelry dating from the Bronze Age in Europe which shows that our ancestors were drilled and stretched their lobes with heavy bronze jewelry.

The "Kama Sutra", which was probably written in India for over 1500 years, describes the practice of genital piercing male as a sexual stimulant. The gladiators of ancient Rome and the athletes of ancient Greece pierced their scrotum and prepuce in order to keep their genitals out of their way when playing sports or fighting. But this practice was also used on the slaves and prisoners to prevent them from having sexual activity.

Piercing during Middle Ages

During Middle Ages (between 1000-1300 AD), the combination of a poor economy and strict religious dogma, created a cultural atmosphere that has suppressed individual freedom to experiment and practice of body modification. But with the Renaissance, Europeans began to leave the shores of Europe to explore the world and find new resources and assets to bring in the old continent. It is from this moment that the tattoos and piercings have been reintroduced.

Piercing RenaissanceEnglish navigators who have met people from different tribes, and wanted to pierce their ears, because they thought it helped to improve their physique. Sailors and explorers have reported and recorded numerous examples of Polynesian tattoos.

The French have started to do the drilling "Guiche" after seeing how the natives of Samoa as a rite of passage. Later, French Legionaries have taken the art of piercing "Fahad" which is the folds on the side of the scrotum, a practice influenced by meeting people of the Middle East.

Modern revival of piercing

Strongly conservative nature of many European countries, have since been taken over bodily changes to "subcultures undesirables." Not until the early 1960s, when many social groups with a different perception of sexuality that have started to explore the possibility of reintroducing corporal changes. In fact, it is the members of these groups "undesirables" who fanned the flame of body piercing and not the criminal and uncivilized excluded from society.


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