The human body is able to endure a lot especially when a certain cultural, social, spiritual aspiration is attempted to achieve. This gave birth to several body modification practices of cultures throughout the world. Ancient civilizations have even corroborated this fact as more artifacts are unearthed of such methods.
Traditions kept these peculiar practices alive even at the present time such as the following:
Ear Lobe Stretching
Mayans and other African tribes are known for their ear lobe stretching practices. Depending on the culture, several reasons have been concluded on why this practice came about. Some see it as a cultural hierarchy status, an emblem of beauty or both. This involves piercing of earlobe and gradually stretching it overtime with circular disks, golden hoop earrings or special and intricate jewelry.
Mayans, Indonesians, The Aborigines and so forth have been filing their teeth sharpening them to pointed peaks. This practice may involve the four front teeth or all depending on what the culture’s standards demand. Some cultures see it as an aesthetic procedure but most ethnic groups participate in this practice because it is a symbol of a higher social and cultural status.
Several cuts are made to the excess skin of the penis and pearls of different sizes are inserted (metallic beads are used on the recent years). The wounds would be sewn closed and the shaft of the penis would then resemble a bumpy log. This practice was made famous by the Yakuza clan in Japan, where most of their gang members undergo such procedure to enhance sexual pleasure, prove their virility and courage. Though this procedure is popular among men, women can also have their genitals beaded through the labia.
African tribes have a long history of body modification rituals. And a more disturbing practice is that of the female genital mutilation. Often regarded as the female circumcision, it is much more extreme than that of the male counterpart. This involves the cutting and the closure of some or all the external female genitalia. Clitoral hood, clitoral glans and inner labia are removed and the vulva is closed up. This practice is done as a way of controlling women’s sexuality, keeping them modest and pure. However, the practice is often done to young children as young as 5 years old.
As far back as the Aztec civilization, piercing has been an integral part of most indigenous tribes. It mostly symbolizes wealth, beauty and virility (men). In recent years, piercing has evolved into newer procedures such as corset piercing, suspension etc. And almost all external parts of the body can be pierced.
Long before the modern tattoo needles and synthetic tattoo inks, cultures all over the world have been using natural dyes from their surrounding foliage to create the most expressive tattoos. Unfortunately, since needles at that time are primitive, pain can be intense. Primitive needles are dipped into the mixed dye and hand-tapped into the skin. There are still some areas in the world that practice the age-old hand-tapping technique such in Hawaii and the Philippines.