Jewellery social Y lip palette

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                              Who Why and When

Historically people have adorned themselves to show their status, to
ward off evil spirits, to bring them ‘good luck’ and to identify
themselves as belonging to…tribe, group or culture. Body adornment
is a means to communicate social position or to show important
stages in life, rank or ‘man hood’.

Bodily adornment can be broken into two groups, those that
permanently mark the body and those which can be removed,
temporary adornment.

We are probably more familiar with the temporary forms such as
wearing rings, necklaces, pendants etc therefore I will not dwell on
these forms.

Permanent body adornment includes such processes as, tattooing,
scarring, deforming, chipping and filing. Examples of temporary
adornment are face/body painting and decorating with attachments,
typically what is regarded as jewellery.

In traditional societies permanent body adornment such as tattooing
and scarring are used to announce lasting links, status/rank. As it is
clear that tattooing or scarring would hurt, they also show personal
strengths such as courage and stamina.

This photograph, from the late 19th - early 20th centuries, shows a man
wearing what at that time were considered to be Maori marks of high status
-- facial tattoos, feather cloaks and hair ornaments.

Evidence shows that tattooing has been around for thousands of
years. Even Egyptian mummies have been uncovered showing the
practice (2000BC).
Tattoos have been used by warriors to terrify enemies and throughout
history to show allegiance to political and religious groups.
Tattoos, as a form of fashion, became frowned upon by the middle
classes in the early 1890’s following this, popularity declined and
tattooed people became part of the circus/freak shows up to the
1920’s. Tattooing saw a revival in the 1960’s as a symbol of rebellion.
               It was used by outsider groups such as biker’s, then
               more mainstream use as pop stars and film stars shoed
               off tattoos. This 1930s photograph features Betty
               Broadbent, the most photographed tattooed woman of
               the last century. Betty performed for over 40 years with
               every significant American circus and in Australia and
               New Zealand. Her tattoos were applied by New York
               tattooist Charlie Wagner, one of the first to use the
electric tattoo machine.

                          In Japan tattoos were only allowed to be
                          worn by the ‘higher classes as a symbol of
                          their superiority. However the common
                          people took to wearing them under their
                          robes so they could not be seen, note the
                          un-tattooed forearms and thighs.
The Surma women of Ethiopia traditionally wear lip plates as a mark
of beauty and wealth, this women is worth approx. 50 cows, for
marriage, so size is important (This practice is falling into decline).

                   In some societies earlobe stretching, lip plates, feet
                   binding methods were adopted to adorn their bodies.
                   Once a small hole has been pierced it can be
                   enlarged allowing lip plates to be inserted or
                   increasing heavy ear-rings to be worn, stretching the

Ear lobes are a common item for adornment with
many people simply piercing their ears for studs
or rings. Some cultures however value the
stretching of the lobes to great lengths, as the
Masai warriors from Kenya.

Body Shaping
              Herbert Lang in 1913, features Chief Danga of the Mangbetu, Democratic
              Republic of the Congo, and illustrates the practice of head elongation. In the
              beginning of the century the Mangbetu people of northeastern Congo bound
              the heads of infants with fine thread in order to elongate the skull. The
              fashionable look was emphasized in adulthood by again binding the head and
              wearing ornaments and hats, as shown in this image of Chief Danga, who also
              has a braided beard

Body shaping by stretching necks, flattening heads, making heads
‘pointy’, binding feet to keep them small. to create wasp like figures
have all been popular activities.

 (Foot binding, practiced by Chinese women for more than 1000 years, was
evidence of a disciplined body ready for marriage. Bound feet were compared to
unopened flower buds. To emphasize the delicacy and perceived beauty of their
small feet, Chinese girls and women wore silk slippers.)
Such activities are performed with the belief that the person becomes
more beautiful, has improved brainpower, and has a high social
position or rank.

Not everything is carried out just for decoration; certain objects have
mystical or spiritual meaning like the ability to ward off evil or illness.
Wealth and status are commonly shown with displays of jewellery.

                            The Turkana (Kenya) bride’s show off their
                            husband’s wealth by the number of bead
                            necklaces worn.

Body Painting

                  From sports fans to brides to be. Body paint is
                  used to show a sports fan’s fanatical support
                  during matches, in India and Pakistan women
                  use Henna to draw intricate patterns on the
                  bride to be. The men of Ethiopia’s Surma tribe
                  wear dramatic body paint for ritual stick fights
and to impress women during courtship.

Whist each culture has it’s own tradition, the meaning of many
colours are fairly universal.

   • Red- blood, fertility or mortality
   • Black- night, evil, impurity
   • Yellow- sun.

However sometimes it is done simply for the sake of art,
pleasure and beauty.
Pewter/ Paua Hei-Tiki Pendant

                    This attractive and spiritually significant piece of
                   exquisitely crafted Pewter and is inserted with New
                   Zealand Paua Shell (Rainbow Abalone pearl) this
                   beautiful paua is a unique part of New Zealand’s
                   history as well as portraying beautiful vibrant
                   colours that reflect in the sunlight.

This exclusive Tiki pendant (Hei Tiki) represents the first born, first
man. Traditionally it is regarded to be our good luck charm.

                        The koru shape is a scroll shape and is linked
                        to the New Zealand fern plant. The shoot of the
                        fern has a curled-over tip which unfurls and
                        becomes a fern leaf.
                        The koru reaches towards the light, striving for
                        perfection, encouraging new positive
The koru, represents the unfolding of new life that everything is
reborn and continues. It represents renewal and hope for the future.
Spiral, geometry of life, sacred creation...
   • new life
   • new beginnings
   • growth
   • movement

To wear a bone or ivory amulet is to celebrate the very nature of
being. It illustrates our interdependence with mother nature. Using
recycled cow, sheep, deer, and whale bones contemporary carvers
are exploring their cultural roots creating hand held sculptures that
echo life affirming symbols
The Future

                      There is hardly a part of the human body that
                      can not be adorned, even our teeth. While
                      westerner's may spend a fortune keeping our
                      teeth smooth, white and straight; some cultures
                      chip, file and even stain their teeth. The Toposa
                      people pull out their bottom teeth, an admired
feature! While in Borneo some women advertise their wealth by
coating their teeth in gold.

As we begin a new century with elective
and cosmetic surgery becoming more
affordable, contact lenses with patterns,
and stick on jewels for teeth, what next?


Body Painting
Body painting can transform a person into a spirit, a work of art,
another gender or even a map of a sacred place. It can emphasize
visual appeal, express allegiance or provide a protective and
empowering coating. Protective body paints often feature in initiation
rituals, weddings and funerals -- all occasions of transition and of
spiritual danger. People everywhere adorn the living, and some also
treat the dead, with body paint. To make body paint, pigments
composed of plant extracts or mineral clays and powders can be
mixed with vegetable oil or animal fat. Throughout history, the
substances used for body paint have been important trade items.
Ochre, camwood, cinnebar, and kaolin were traded throughout Asia,
Africa and Europe.
Henna, used as a temporary skin dye, was widely traded in the
Muslim world along with patterns and designs used to apply it.
Commercially manufactured body paints, now available in a wider
palette, may be adopted for their visual appeal but they rarely take on
the symbolic significance of natural paints and dyes.
Body Shaping
The shape of the human body changes throughout life, but in many
cultures people have found ways to permanently or temporarily sculpt
the body. To conform to culturally-defined ideals of beauty, people
have bound the soft bones of children's skulls and feet, stretched
necks with rings, removed ribs to minimize waists and, most
commonly today, sculpted their bodies through plastic surgery. The
widespread practice of head shaping, dating back at least 6000
years, continued in many regions, including Europe, through the 19th
century. Head shaping still occurs in some places such as isolated
communities of South America. Becoming fat is a sign of health,
wealth and fertility in some societies, and fattening may be part of a
girl's coming of age ceremony or a way to proclaim the high status of
a ruler, either male or female. Tiny waists, small feet and large or
small breasts and buttocks have been prized or scorned as ideals of
female beauty. Men's bodies have also been molded by deliberate
fattening, weight lifting, head binding or wearing corsets.

The crushed leaves of the henna plant, when mixed with other natural
ingredients, yields a thick, fragrant paste used for painting hands and
feet. The olive green, dried henna powder, once mixed with such
ingredients as black tea and coffee, cloves and tamarind, turns dark.
Once the paste is applied on the skin, it is allowed to dry, sometimes
overnight. The dried henna is scrapped off the skin resulting in a
maroon-red stain. Henna has traditionally also been used for hair
conditioning and dyeing, skin antiseptic and tonic, and as cloth and
leather dye. Henna is a cosmetic and a medicine, but most
importantly, it is a marker of beauty, auspiciousness and celebration.
Henna painting is considered a woman's art form, often to mark
special events in a woman's life, especially marriage. The painted
bride is denoted special by the intricate, elaborate henna patterns on
her hands and feet, attesting to the liminal occasion in which she is
transported from one stage of life to another. Henna designs add
beauty and decoration to the parts of the body that are in view,
namely hand and feet, but patterns usually extend towards the
elbows and knees, causing erotic curiosity for the concealed parts.
Designs vary with each culture, and even within cultures. Generally
speaking, Arabic Swahili women's designs consists of large, bold
floral patterns, whereas Moroccan Berber women paint geometric,
linear designs. In India, Hindu women prefer paisleys, vines and birds
such as peacocks. Muslim women do not paint figurative images due
to the Islamic prohibition on representational art.
In the past decade, henna painting has experienced an immense
popularity in the United States. Although ethnic communities residing
in the West have always practiced the art of henna, the acceptance of
this form by Westerners, especially celebrities, is a relatively new
phenomenon. Popularly called "temporary tattoo," henna painting
does function like tattoos. People who are reluctant to acquire a real
tattoo, test out a location and design by first having an ephemeral
henna version of what will eventually become a permanent part of
their skin. Also like tattoo, henna designs in the US resemble "tribal"
bracelets and anklets, belts and rings. The practice of wearing henna
as jewelry was born in the West.

White clay used as body paint. Among various African groups it used
for healing, for protecting a newborn and its mother; and to help a
healer communicate with spirits in the "other world."

Carbon, crushed with other organic materials into a paste used to rim
the eyes.

An object that pierces the area below the lips and above the chin.

Makeup consists of removable substances-paint, powders, dyes-
applied to enhance or transform appearance. Commonly part of
regular grooming, makeup varies according to changing definitions of
beauty. For vanity and social acceptance, or for medicinal or ritual
purposes, people regularly transform every visible part of their body.
Throughout history, they have tanned or whitened skin; changed the
color of lips, eyes, and teeth; and added or removed "beauty" spots.
Some makeup is meant to be seen; some is meant to be invisible.
Makeup can accentuate the contrast between men and women,
camouflage perceived imperfections or signify a special occasion or
ritual state. Makeup allows people to reinvent themselves in everyday
life. Theatrical makeup helps actors take on new identities. Male
Japanese actors in kabuki theater become women by using strictly
codified paints and patterns, and the designs and motifs of Chinese
theatrical makeup indicate the identity of a character.

The art of tattoo as practiced by the Maori of New Zealand. Worn by
both men and women, moko was a sign of distinction, reserved for
those who were the most noble and accomplished.

Piercing is decorative only insofar as it allows the body to hold certain
kinds of ornaments, which are inserted through the skin in a way that
permits healing around the opening. Most commonly pierced are the
soft tissues of the face, but many peoples, past and present, have
also pierced other parts of the body. Ear, nose and lip ornaments, as
well as pierced figurines, have been found in ancient burials of the
Inka and Moche of Peru, the Aztecs and Maya of ancient Mexico and
in graves of central Asian and Mediterranean peoples. The act of
piercing is often part of a ceremony marking a coming of age, a
change in status or the accession to office. Ornaments may be
restricted to certain people or worn only on certain occasions.
Because ornaments can be made of precious and rare materials --
ivory, gold, jade and precious stones such as diamonds and
emeralds -- they may signal privilege and wealth.

A dry substance that when mixed with liquid does not dissolve, but
becomes a paint, ink, or other coloring agent.

In some cultures, a smooth, unmarked skin represents an ideal of
beauty, but people in many others see smooth skin as an unfinished,
unattractive surface. Scarification, also called cicatrization, alters skin
texture by cutting the skin and controlling the body's healing process.
The cuts, which are treated to prevent infection and to enhance the
scars' visibility, leave visable incisions after the skin heals. Inserting
substances like clay or ash in the wounds results in permanently
raised weals or bumps, known as keloids. Substances inserted into
the wounds may also result in changes in skin color, creating marks
similar to tattoos. Cutting elaborate and extensive decorative patterns
into the skin usually indicates a permanent change in a person's
The designs often have symbolic meaning, and the same patterns
may be used on textiles, woodcarvings, ceramics, and sculpture.
Because scarification is painful, the richly scarred person is often
honored for endurance and courage.

Tattoo involves puncturing the skin with a sharp instrument and
inserting pigment through the outer layer, the epidermis, into the
second layer, the dermis. Tattoos are intended to be permanent; only
recently have expensive laser techniques allowed people to remove
them. Tattoo patterns and techniques have varied with different
cultures. Traditional Polynesian tattooists tap a needle with a small
hammer, while the Japanese work with bundles of needles set in
wooden handles. In the West, the electric tattoo machine has
revolutionized tattooing, expanding the ease of application and the
range of colors and designs. Besides being decorative, tattoos send
important cultural messages: a commitment to some group, an
emblem of a rite of passage, even a fashion statement. Tattooing has
been used to indicate high rank in some societies, rebellion and low
status in others. Despite numerous religious and social injunctions,
tattooing has been a popular form of body art throughout the world.
Although tattooing is a popular form of self -expression, the practice
can involve potential health risks. Regarding tattooing, the New York
City Department of Health states:
"Tattooing is an invasive procedure that can result in serious skin and
blood infections. Where procedures involving penetration of the skin
are not performed correctly, they can be means of transmitting
organisms that cause diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis
C. It is advisable that pregnant women and persons with possible
allergies to ink or dyes consult with their physician prior to getting a
Your Assignment….

Explain who why, where and when people adorn their bodies.

Throughout history people have adorned themselves, your
assignment is to explain the cultural significance of ‘jewellery’ through
out the ages. Where possible use examples (pictures and drawings)
to illustrate your points. Work through to modern times and comment
on cross cultural uses of jewellery/body adornment.

What do you think may be worn in the future?

Some key areas to comment on;

   •   piercings
   •   tattooing
   •   body/face paint
   •   cultural issues
   •   changes, developments over time
   •   adoption or adaption by different races and cultures
   •   materials

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