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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 […]

Cranial Deformation – Odd Mods 2

Posted by Charles LaFave

It’s a practice that may go back as far as 45,000 years. Homo Sapiens (That’s us) may not have been the only humans to do it. It spans cultures, continents and entire eras of human history. This week, we’re talking head shaping, aka Cranial Deformation, aka the Toulouse Deformity, aka Definitely Not Alien Skulls. First, […]

Mayan Tooth Inlays (Odd Mods Part 1)

Posted by Charles LaFave

When you think of the Mayan’s body modification, you probably think of stretched lobes or septums, or maybe lip or nostril piercings. But one form of modification that the Mayan’s practiced doesn’t get much press: Tooth inlays. That’s the process of taking something like a gemstone or a piece of jade and putting in into […]

The Stretched Nostrils of the Apatani Women

Posted by Charles LaFave

The legend says that the Apatani women were the most beautiful women in any of the surrounding tribes. Raiders would ride into Arunachal Pradesh, the large state in Northern India where the Apatani live, and kidnap them. In response, the women began tattooing their faces, and stretching their nostril piercings out until large plugs could […]

Nose Piercings in India

Posted by Charles LaFave

(AKA the natt, the bulak and the mookutthi) The first thing you probably should know about nose piercing in India is that it’s as widespread and multi-faceted a practice as any other in a country with so many languages and cultures blended together. In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, jewelry in the nose is worn by […]

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