Presentation on theme: "The Body as Art in Africa Africa, a continent three times the size of the United States, is a land of incredible cultural diversity. Body art, either through."— Presentation transcript:
The Body as Art in Africa Africa, a continent three times the size of the United States, is a land of incredible cultural diversity. Body art, either through painted decoration or physical alteration, is a common occurrence throughout the continent. While tattooing, scarification and other forms of decoration are often admired simply for their aesthetic value, they frequently also serve important social functions.
A young Maasai girl from Kenya wears an elaborate outfit made out of beads. Beaded decorations are the most common ornaments worn by Maasai men and women.
Surma men paint their bodies in preparation for donga stick fights in order to emphasize their physical beauty and to intimidate their adversaries
…while Hamar women wear their hair in long rolled strands Hamar girls wear their hair in tightly rolled balls…
Similarly, A Hopi girl wears her hair in a butterfly pattern until she gets married, after which she wears it straight.
Among the Karo peoples, yellow and white paint transform the body, releasing the spirit of the Karo. The clay hair buns and ostrich feathers signify that a man has killed and enemy. An acknowledged killer receives livestock, sexual favors and is allowed to wear special jewelry that signify his status.
He is also much more likely to be desired by a women and to be seen as a suitable son- in-law by her family.
A Muslim Afar female wears the finest and most exotic jewelry available during marriages and other celebrations. Some of it is made locally, while some is brought by relatives returning from overseas
Despite the Islamic code of modesty, this Swahili woman, holding her child, reveals elaborate henna decorations on her hand.
Scarification for many African peoples, including this Mursi man, is considered a sign of beauty, a means of attracting the opposite sex.
Karo women scarify their chests to enhance their beauty. They believe that the skin texture of a scarified woman holds a sensual appeal for men.
The complete scarification of a Karo mans chest indicates that he has killed an enemy or a dangerous animal.
Tattoos are also common throughout Africa. However, while tattoos are thought to enhance ones beauty, they also often have the purpose of displaying ones ethnic and lineage identity, as illustrated by this young Fulani girl.
The parallel lines of scarification identify this man as a Nuer.
Facial scarification identifies this woman as an Afar.
Ears plugs are worn by the Surma women for decoration.
Lip plates are also worn by Surma women. * * * It takes about six months to stretch the lip to accommodate a full- sized lip plate.
The final size of the lip plate indicates the number of cattle paid as brideprice.
Since the size of the lip plate indicates the number of cattle given in marriage, it visibly communicates a womans social status.
Tattooing and body mutilation are not exactly unknown in the U.S.