History of Ear Gauging in Tribal Civilizations

A study of the history of ear gauging indicates the practice to be as old as recorded human history. For males, this form of ear piercing has been a symbol of status, while for women, in addition to being used as means of bodily decoration, it has also been employed to signify the attainment of womanhood.

Ear gauging, which is also referred to as ear stretching, is the stretching of ear lobe piercings to larger diameters than that of the original piercing. It is a form of body enhancement or beautification that many young western people adopt to look ‘different’ from the usual crowd. However, this is not a modern form of body piercing, since it has been around for as long as archaeological records exist.

In many cases, ear gauging has been used historically to indicate the standing of members of a specific tribe, and in many respects this is still the situation today. Stretched piercings have been, and still are, a reflection on the individual’s sexual capability and also their superiority over other males in the tribe. The larger the stretching, the more important the individual.

Otzi the Iceman is a prime example of mummies known to have stretched ears. This is the earliest known example of ear gauging, Otzi having 7-11 mm ear piercings during 3300 BC. It has been suggested that the stretching of the ears noted in depictions of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, may have been caused by the weight of the gold jewelry he wore, but this is mere supposition.

It is supported, however, by the fact that the Masai tribe of Kenya and the Lahu and Karen-Paduang people of Thailand use this ‘gravity’ technique to stretch their piercings. Let us have a look at the ear gauging practices used today by various cultures.

A. Mursi Tribal Women

The Mursi is an Ethiopian tribe where the women are obliged to wear plates in their gauged ears and on their bottom lip. About a year prior to her marriage, or at about 15 years of age, a Mursi girl’s lip will be pierced by her mother and a wooden peg pushed through the incision.

Once healed, the peg is changed for a larger diameter one. Eventually, the peg is replaced by a plate of clay or wood, and this plate is successively changed for larger diameter ones until the required diameter is attained – from around 8 – 22 cm in diameter (3 – 9 inches). Once these plates have been secured, she receives a higher degree of respect than those without them, and is known as a ‘Bhansanai’.

These lip and ear plates need not be worn permanently, but are an expected adornment during special occasions such as during weddings and other celebrations, and when they serve food to men. Today, young women can generally make their own decision as to whether or not they follow this tradition.

B. The Masai People of Kenya

The practice of ear gauging has been common among Masai men and women for thousands of years. In recent years, however, most young men have not been following this custom, although you will still find many Masai women wearing ear decorations made from stones, cross-cut elephant tusks, wood and animal bones.

The original piercing is carried out using a thorn, sharpened twig or a sharp knife point. Once healed, ear gauging is then carried out by wearing increasingly heavy jewellery that pulls the lobe down and stretches the piercing. This is the traditional way of gauging ears in the more primitive cultures, although many Masai today will use proper ear gauging techniques, such as their own versions of insertion tapers or taper spikes. Beads are a common form of ornamentation, although plugs made from bone, tusks and wood are also used.

C. The African Fulani Tribe

Fulani women from Nigeria and Central Africa tend to use smaller diameter ear gauges, and decorate them using large gold domes or hoops carrying earrings. A Fulani child will have her ears pierced at around 3 years old, although they may not be stretched until she is older. The gauges used by Fulani women are relatively small compared to the Masai and Mursi, although the jewellery can be larger.

D. Asian Hill Tribes

Of the various hill tribes, the only two known to practice ear gauging are the Lahu from Thailand, and the Karen-Padaung (Longnecks) from Myanmar (Burma) and also the Phrae province in Thailand. That latter tribe are best known for their neck rings, offering the appearance of long necks, but both cultures believe the ear to be sacred and the more jewellery they can wear on the better. By gauging their ears, they are able to wear the maximum amount of jewellery they believe possible.

E. Mexican and Central American Civilizations

In Mayan and Aztec society, ear gauging was regarded as desirable for males. There are many Mayan representations of men with flares and ear plugs (ear spools) in gauged ears, and the material used was indicative of the social standing of the wearer. Jade ear plugs were worn by the higher classes, while the rest would use bone, stone, wood and other materials. In central Mexico, the craftsmanship of the Aztecs is evident in the ear gauging plugs and ornaments of gold and silver, though the lower classes would adorn their stretches earlobes with shells, copper and wood among many other imaginative materials.

Ear gauging has been carried out worldwide, and among other notable areas involved in this practice are Japan, where the Ainu used ear jewellery made from shells, bone and a ball and ring known as Ninkari. There are many other cultures worldwide where ear gauging was a part of their life, and even today many people regard ear stretching as a fashion statement and a way of expressing their own personality and individuality.

Conch Piercings

Conch Piercings are located within the hollow space of your ear; it is called a conch piercing because of the resemblance it has to the conch shell. Literally pierced right through the center of your ear, this is not a very popular piercing (as far as numbers go), but people who have conch piercings (and other bod mod enthusiasts) absolutely love them!

Conch Piercings go through the thick cartilage located directly in the middle of your ear. Because there is a copious amount of surrounding tissue, migration or rejection risks are nonexistent. If you are looking to begin your first foray into body piercing (outside of traditional ear lobes), this is a great piercing to start with!

Experienced and reputable piercers will not have difficulty in piercing your conch. Unlike some other ear or body piercings, there aren’t any strange angles, bends, or specific equipment that must be used. The piercing is a straight shot using a simple, basic, sterile piercing needle. The Conch is one of the easiest places to get pierced.

Once you and your piercer agree that a Conch is right for you, your piercer will recommend the best jewelry – it usually is a captive bead ring for the initial piercing. And just to forewarn you, the gauge (that is, the thickness) of the jewelry might appear to be rather large. Don’t be alarmed! These piercings call for jewelry of a larger girth, and it won’t hurt anymore than if it was pierced with a smaller gauge. Once your piercing has healed (it will take about a year to be fully and completely healed) you can replace it with a myriad of affordable and fun jewelry. The first three to six months are very crucial in the healing process, so take good care of your ear!

Your piercer will mark your ear with a marker to denote where they think it will look best on you; once you have confirmed or rearranged the position, your piercing will happen. Clamps are usually used (all they do is secure the area from moving), and a straight piercing needle will push through on your exhale. It is a very fast procedure, and your jewelry will slide in your new hole. Once your piercer has finished securing the piercing, your ear might feel a little hot and your heart may be thumping rapidly, but that is just the adrenaline and endorphin kicking in. Enjoy it while it lasts – many people live for that thrilling feeling! The actual pain ranges from person to person, but most don’t feel any pain. Like so many piercings, this one looks more painful than it actually is, so don’t be nervous!

You can get more than one piercing in your Conch, and then it’s called a Conch Orbital. Basically, an Orbital is two separate piercings joined together by one piece of jewelry (please see my orbital article for more information). You can also get the Conches in both ears pierced but I would suggest staggering these two piercings so as to ease the healing process. For example, for about 3 months after your piercings, you really shouldn’t sleep on the ear with a pierced Conch; getting both Conches pierced simultaneously may therefore interfere with your sleeping patterns and may lead to prolong healing in both ears. Discuss with your piercer if a conch orbital is right for you – if you think you may want one in the future, alert your piercer so that they can give you a piercing in the right location.

The aftercare for the Conch is very easy – not only is this an easy piercing to get, it’s easy to take care of, and it’s easy to find jewelry for it! Soaking your ear in warm salt water (properly called a saline solution) is one of the best ways to assist your new piercing. The next best thing to do is NOT TOUCH your new piercing! It’s very hard to do – it’s a new addition to your body so you will doubtless want to play with it – but don’t touch it! Human hands are covered in germs and bacteria and fidgeting with your new vulnerable piercing can lead to infection. Only touch it when you are cleaning it, and be sure your hands are clean first! Other simple tips to avoid an infection include not putting your cell phone on that ear, don’t sleep on it, don’t use headphones that go into your ear canal, and try to keep long hair away from it (it can wrap around the back) during the healing time (once it’s healed, no big deal if your hair touches it).

Taking care of your Conch is very easy, all it takes is routine cleaning, abstaining from touching it, and common sense! Your piercer will give you a complete rundown, so pay attention. Should any problems arise, return to your piercer and they should be able to provide you with more advice or solutions. Enjoy your conch, and get ready to be the envy of many!

The History of Mixed Media Art

Mixed media art is a kind of artwork in which several mediums are employed. There’s an important difference between “mixed-media” artworks and “multimedia art”. Mixed media mean a work of visual art that mixes numerous traditionally unique visual art media. To provide an example, a work on canvas that mixes paint, ink, as well as collage can appropriately be called a “mixed media” work – but not a work of “multimedia art.” The term multimedia art indicates a broader range than mixed media, merging visual art with non-visual materials (including recorded sound, for example) or with elements of the other arts (such as literature, drama, dance, motion graphics, music, or interactivity).

What we all know nowadays as mixed media art began during the early twentieth century, when artists looking for a substitute for what they saw as hidebound academicism started including things and pictures that were not regarded as art materials in their works. Examples of everyday materials being included in ceremonial or aesthetic objects could be found dating back to prehistory, however, these were produced with different motives, and served quite a distinct social purpose compared to the objects all of us refer to as “art.”

Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Painting (May 1912) is often considered the 1st modern collage, it is actually an assemblage of oil paint, oil cloth, pasted paper, as well as rope, turning it into a low-relief, three-dimensional work. The first collages constructed solely of paper, on the other hand, were made by Braque in the summertime of 1912, when he utilized wood-grained wallpaper in a series of charcoal drawings. After a brief lull in collage activity, the 1920s’ art scene experienced the arrival of German dada artist Kurt Schwitters’s remarkable array of personal expressions accomplished in collage and assemblage. He fixed everyday found papers as well as things of all types to canvas, paper, and board supports, giving them another and most likely more notable life.

In the 1930s, Henri Matisse utilized cut-paper shapes as preparatory work for commissioned items to be executed in some other media. But in 1947, he published a small collection of twenty color plates of his cutout designs. Joseph Cornell’s work in stage like boxed assemblages during the early 1940s began the abstract expressionists’ search for collage as an art form. The liberty of expression engendered by means of collage explorations headed directly to the assemblages, constructions, and also combine paintings of Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Jean Dubuffet, and Ellsworth Kelly, as well as to their experimental work in the 1950s as well as 60′s. And their particular work in turn created the conditions for the installations, appropriations, settings, and new object works of the eighties and 1990′s.

Mixed media art, drawing from the efforts of early artists, made mixed media an accessible art form for both skilled and novice artists. Assemblage as well as collage can be obtained combined with acrylic and watercolor painting, rubber-stamped art, sculpture as well as altered books. Fibers, torn papers, inks, glitter plus beads are discovering their way into works of fine art as well as commercial items such as greeting cards and quilts. The near future of mixed media, it appears, is bound just by the creativity of artists and whatever they could possibly get their hands on.

What is the Significance of Art

Art is such a simple term but it is difficult to define. To a child, art is drawing and coloring. For celebrities, art is acting and entertaining. For designers, art is trend and fashion. The definition of art can be very objective.

Different sectors have their own definition of art. They have various standards too. For a mother, the drawings of her children are works of art. For museums, art is the genuine creation of a significant artist in the past.

Just like its definition, its significance also varies. There are various forms of art today, and each is important to the artist involved. A good example is a musician. Music is a good example of art. That is why singers are called artists. For a songwriter, each song has a story that he wants the people to hear. For most writers, this is very personal.

For various artists, art is way of expressing themselves. You may have seen an abstract oil painting, although you cannot recognize the patterns and strokes of the artists, it is very important for the painter. For him, it represents his emotion and his character. It can symbolize his anger and frustration. However, it can also represent his love and compassion. Anyone who sees it can also use it to represent how they feel. Strokes and colors can evoke certain emotions from other people. This is why most people want to buy pieces of artwork.

For others, it represents their dreams. The television today has produced several competitions that opened the doors for various dreamers. There are dancers across the country who lined up to audition because all their life they wanted to dance in front of an audience who appreciates what they can do. Many have gone to school to enhance their skills so that they can be among the best dancers in the world.

Like music, dancing is a form of art that can evoke various feelings. Aside from love, dances can also evoke sensuality, excitement, fun, passion, anger, and happiness. Art here is more than entertainment and talent. It is more of touching people lives through their moves and choreography.

Today, art also symbolizes comfort. You can see art in many beautiful and comfortable homes. Interior designers are also artists in many ways. They match things to provide a wonderful space for their client. Seeing the overwhelming reactions of their clients gives them satisfaction. To them, that is the most rewarding feeling.

Art has also transcended in foods. Many cooks and chefs have proven this. Some maybe predictable but others are like the abstract oil painting. You do not care what is in there as long as you like the taste. For them, being able to feed and satisfy their customers is all that matters.

Art is very significant in today’s generation. Since it has taken various forms, it has earned the respect of almost all the artists. Musicians respect their instruments. Painters respect their brushes, paints, and canvass. And, chefs respect their ingredients and utensils.

Art is significant because of the sense of fulfillment an artist feels every time he finishes a masterpiece.