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The Noble Black Earstring

Posted by Charles LaFave

“Yet for thy sake I will not bore mine eare, To hang thy durtie silken shoo-tires there.” – Christopher Marlowe   In the time of James I (early 1600s), it became the fashion to wear a strand or three of black silk through the left ear. It was a bit of a high-class dandy-ish fashion […]

A Bit of Tattoo History

Posted by Charles LaFave

As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, there’s a tendency for body modification history to be erased somewhat because skin deteriorates so quickly, in most cases, and doesn’t leave much of a record for us. It’s only after mummies or frozen bodies are found that we see the real history of what people looked like, […]

Eye Tattooing – A Two Thousand Year Old Thing

Posted by Charles LaFave

“Galen is said to have been the first to tattoo the cornea for disguising opacities. He is said to have cauterized the opacity and then applied a paste composed of powder of gall-nut, pomegranate bark and a salt of copper. This, according to Panas, was the origin of tattooing. Anagostakis states that the ancient Greeks […]

The Smiling Tattoos of the Ainu Women

Posted by Charles LaFave

The word Ainu means “human” or “people” in the language of Ainu, which belongs to the indigenous people of Japan and Russia that carry the same name. Primarily associated with Japan, the Ainu have had a rough road over the last several centuries – a pattern that mimics the indigenous peoples of America and other […]

Sepik River Scarification

Posted by Charles LaFave

Among the Chambri people of Papua New Guinea, boys as young as eleven years of age are given scars all over their torso that resemble the scales of a crocodile. The process involves making small cuts, and then deliberately infecting them with ash from plants to form a keloid scar (A type of thick, raised […]

Renommierschmiss – Academic Fencing Scars

Posted by Charles LaFave

“My honour has at last been satisfied. A week ago, a ‘dummer junge’ named Schwartz stepped on my dog’s tail and I challenged him. The fight took place yesterday. Schwartz got a bad slash on his left cheek, and I got two cuts, one just under my eye and the other on my head. The […]

The Victorian Tattoo Craze

Posted by Charles LaFave

The British empire in the 1890s spanned the globe from Canada to Africa, India, Australia and chunks of Asia. Stories abounded in the popular British press of explorers meeting Maori people with tattoos ‘chiseled’ into their faces, of the painted ‘red men’ of North America, and of rough ‘gunpowder’ tattoos carved into the arms of […]

Trepanation

Posted by Charles LaFave

Trepanning AKA Trepanation, AKA Trephination   Imagine someone taking a really sharp rock and cutting your scalp, then flopping your scalp open like a wet rug and using a – probably – different rock to saw into your skull. They then make a roughly rectangular shape, pop out part of your skull bones, put your […]

Mursi Lip Stretching

Posted by Charles LaFave

It’s technically a labret. But like, the queen of labrets. The practice was once much more widespread in Africa, with some reports from the 1800s saying men and women of different tribes wore great lip plates in their lower (and sometimes upper) lips. Today, the Mursi are most famous for keeping up this tradition (Along […]

Corseting

Posted by Charles LaFave

AKA Odd Mods 3 When you think of corsets, you probably think about those kooky Victorians and their tightlacing. You’re not wrong, and we’ll get to them in a bit. But the history of the corset goes back a lot further than that. Try 2000 BCE, on the island of Crete, where a culture we’ve come […]

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