The Cultural Art of Body Art Essay

The Cultural Art of Body Art Essay

Length: 1081 words (3.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

For a long time now body art and decoration has been a custom in many cultural groups. Through research we have learned about the different types of body art and ornamentation such as permanent and nonpermanent tattooing, scarification, and piercings. These forms of body art and ornamentation are done for a variety of reasons, ranging from identification purposes to religious rituals. “Skin, as a visible way of defining individual identity and cultural difference, is not only a highly elaborated preoccupation in many cultures; it is also the subject of wide-ranging and evolving scholarly discourse in the humanities and social sciences” (Schildkrout, 2004). The process of ornamentation and body art is usually a painful experience, but it is a way to signify a person’s self-discovery and their place in society. In this paper, I will explore the different aspects of body art and ornamentation in two different cultures; the Maori people of New Zealand and the Yoruba’s of West Africa and explain the cultural importance of their art.
Throughout West Africa it is not uncommon to come across people that have scar stripe patterns on their cheeks. The facial stripes that they wear are not produced by paint or tattoos, like many other cultures, but only by scarification. However, in his article, Orie explains that not all of the Yoruba people have the facial stripes. Okola is a term used for describing someone whose face is scarred, it means ‘the one with facial stripes’. People that do not have the stripes are referred to as oboro, or ‘plain, not striped face’ (Orie, 2011). While there are many different patterns of stripes worn by the Yoruba people in West Africa, it is always both cheeks that are striped. Most of the time, the stripes...


... middle of paper ...


...m it is their culture and a sacred tradition of their people.



Works Cited

Nikora, L. W., Rua, M., & Te Awekotuku, N. (2007). Renewal and resistance: moko in contemporary New Zealand. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 17(6), 477-489. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.
Orie, O. O. (2011). The structure and function of Yoruba facial scarification. Anthropological Linguistics, 53(1), 15-33. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.
Palmer, C., & Tano, M. L. (2004). Mokomokai: Commercialization and Desacralization. Significance of Moko and Mokomokai in Maori Culture. International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management. Retrieved from
http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-PalMoko-t1-body-d1-d2.html
Schildkrout, E. (2004). Inscribing the body. Annual Review of Anthropology, 33(1), 319-344. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Perception of Body Ormanatation in Culture

- Body art and ornamentation is something that has been with us for centuries. All cultures in the world relate to some form body art and ornamentation. Body art and ornamentation is basically visual and as such for one to understand the message being communicated it is imperative that one understands symbolic representations of the culture in question. Previous studies on the topic body art and ornamentation have shown both differences and similarities in regard to meaning, perception as well as differences on the part of the body found....   [tags: tattoos, body art, ornamentation, piercings]

Strong Essays
1652 words (4.7 pages)

Similarities Between India And Greek Art Essay example

- During these captivating times in the years of 300-1900 B.C.E, where the most exquisite masterpieces were born between the revolution of the Greeks and India. The use of colors, beading, gems and stone had birth a new beginning that will last a lifetime to come. Of course, not all of India and Greek art forms exist in its original state some has been remade to preserve its natural existence. Take a dive with me as we capture and explore the relation between man and God, compare similarities and differences between India and Greek art sculpture and look at a modern art that can capture both arts in one....   [tags: Art, Aesthetics, Human body, Performance art]

Strong Essays
1066 words (3 pages)

The Many Forms of Art Essay

- Throughout the cultural history of man, objects have been created to entertain, record, confront, enrich, clarify, communicate, reveal, to order and disorder, with or without a purpose. Yet the definition of what is art is obscure, we are able to recognise for ourselves but not express concisely what art is. Art has ‘a complicated network of overlapping series of similarities’ (Law, 2003) however there is not one feature that all art has in common. The classification of Art does not fit into the classic logic argument where to be defined as art the object must have a stated characteristic, as in the manner of classifying a dog, computer, house or boat....   [tags: Art]

Strong Essays
1145 words (3.3 pages)

How Body Modification Is A Way Of Changing A Person 's Appearance Essay

- Tattoos and Piercings Throughout society, some people think that body piercings and tattoos are dirty, disgusting, irresponsible and trashy. John Leo thinks the cultural crisis can’t really be dealt with by letting loose of our personal obsessions and marking up our bodies. I think body piercings and tattoos is a great way to express independence, religious or cultural reasons. The purpose of this essay is to not really focus on what John Leo thinks about body modification, but to show how body modification is okay to have to express someone 's personality....   [tags: Body modification, Body art, Body piercing]

Strong Essays
1028 words (2.9 pages)

Art and Architecture in Germany and Czech Republic Essay examples

- My trip to Germany and the Czech Republic was very exciting. At first, I was not sure what to think about it. They are foreign countries and this was my first trip out of the United States. I did however think they would be much different from America. I knew that there would be many older buildings and castles in each country, since they are older than the United States. I also did not expect to see as many skyscrapers in these cities. I expected all of the cities to be beautiful and have a lot of unique architecture....   [tags: Art]

Strong Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Importance of Art

- Art is a form of human expression. Art can be seen as the artist sleight of hand on his mood. Art is in various media from posters to public wall of which we call “graffiti”. Art is elusive as the use of colors shapes and the surface used adds a new dimension. Art portrays various ideas, feelings such as triumph, love, happiness, sorrow and boredom in loss to mention a few. Art is beauty and creativity. During man’s evolution art has progressed over in its most primitive state up to its most modernized versions today....   [tags: art, history,]

Strong Essays
647 words (1.8 pages)

“The true test of the greatness of a work of art is its ability to be understood by the masses.”

- “The true test of the greatness of a work of art is its ability to be understood by the masses.” The statement "The true test of the greatness of a work of art is its ability to be understood by the masses;" is highly problematic. Art in itself has an ambiguous definition that combines concepts of aesthetics and personal emotion. When one thinks of art, it becomes clear that the definition of art is too abstract. Art can be anything from cavepaintings to heiroglypics and pottery. Does this mean that art as it is defined is too broad....   [tags: Art]

Strong Essays
1086 words (3.1 pages)

Himalayan Art Essay

- Art was largely used to express traditions in the Himalayan region. Once upon Many Times is an exhibition at Rubin Museum of Art representing a wide range of visual narratives and reproductions of temple murals, which can be regarded as exceptional examples of Himalayan art based upon Tibetan myths and legends. Furthermore, this paper will analyze the color arrangement, composition, proportion, hierarchy and motifs of the historical narrative Shantarakshita and scenes of his life and the Drowa Sangmo mural represented at the exhibition Once upon Many Times....   [tags: Art]

Strong Essays
1772 words (5.1 pages)

The History of Modern Women and Body Art Essay

- The History of Modern Women and Body Art I chose to do this field report on body art because I, personally, find the topic very complex and interesting. It is for this reason that I decided to narrow the scope of my field research. I am focusing this report on the trends and evolution in body art as relating to modern women. When I say modern women I am referring to the women from about the 18th century to the current day. I chose to focus on women imparticular because of the strong societal pressure that is specifically place upon them to fulfill a certain role and aesthetically look a particular way....   [tags: Art Tattoos Arts Essays Females]

Strong Essays
1414 words (4 pages)

Body Art Essay

- Body Art For thousands of years, men and women around the world have gone to redundant lengths to change their natural appearance of their bodies in an attempt to make themselves feel more attractive, to get attention, to conform to new customs of their particular cultural group, to attract a mate or sex partner, to show of their wealth or social status, or to just make an outgoing statement about themselves. Is body art really a pop culture. Our dissatisfaction with the human body and its covering is expressed in endless change....   [tags: Papers]

Strong Essays
545 words (1.6 pages)