Wednesday, 28 September 2011

survey monkey, stretched ears

Here are some responses from the survey I did on survey monkey.

I don't like the look of it
22/9/2011 12:17View Responses
worried about them going back afterwards / pain!
21/9/2011 9:23View Responses
just dont want stretching ears
20/9/2011 23:20View Responses
I like my ears as they are, not like big saggy rings with hula hoops through.
20/9/2011 22:32View Responses
The prospect of them not being able to shrink back scares me
20/9/2011 22:25View Responses
I am interested in stretching my ears, but am afraid of the effects and that they might not shrink back
20/9/2011 22:08View Responses
Not into body piercings at all, really
20/9/2011 21:39View Responses
its ugly
20/9/2011 21:02View Responses
I think it looks horrible
20/9/2011 20:22View Responses
there big enough
20/9/2011 18:36View Responses
coz it is skanky innit
20/9/2011 18:32View Responses
Too timid! Think they look awesome though.
20/9/2011 18:18View Responses
looks BUTTAS
20/9/2011 18:17View Responses

I dont really know what tribal style jewellery actually is.
25/9/2011 20:51View Responses
22/9/2011 12:17View Responses
I buy it from high street stores if I see it
20/9/2011 22:44View Responses
I've never bought any.
20/9/2011 22:32View Responses
I dont really know of anywhere, but buy it if I come across anything
20/9/2011 22:25View Responses
markets, I dont really know anywhere that specializes in it
20/9/2011 22:08View Responses
Don't really have a favourite place. Buy a particular item if I see it/like it.
20/9/2011 21:39View Responses
20/9/2011 21:02View Responses
usually the internet!
20/9/2011 19:12View Responses
i dunno, that place where you and india et your shit from
20/9/2011 18:32View Responses
Tribu, London
20/9/2011 18:18View Responses

I like tattoos, but dont know if id ever get one.
25/9/2011 20:51View Responses
It really depends on the person who has it; whether it suits them or not.
22/9/2011 12:17View Responses
percings generally and ink :)
21/9/2011 9:23View Responses
Most body piercings, depending on the person!
21/9/2011 2:07View Responses
20/9/2011 23:20View Responses
I dont know of any
20/9/2011 22:44View Responses
tying your willy up
20/9/2011 22:32View Responses
I dont know much about tribal body modification but I like the jewellery
20/9/2011 22:25View Responses
tattoos, scarification is interesting but not something I would do myself
20/9/2011 22:08View Responses
20/9/2011 21:39View Responses
20/9/2011 21:02View Responses
20/9/2011 20:22View Responses
not particularly
20/9/2011 19:12View Responses
20/9/2011 18:47View Responses
20/9/2011 18:36View Responses
i like big tribal bangles but they dont suit my tiny hands
20/9/2011 18:32View Responses
I particularly like the stretchers made out of coconut and horn from Tribu, I also like some tribal influenced tattoos
20/9/2011 18:18View Responses
Scarification can look amazing...though it's a little extreme!
20/9/2011 18:18View Responses
not tribal tattoos you berk
20/9/2011 18:17View Responses
Ears stretched to moderation... there is a line that is often crossed.
20/9/2011 18:16View Responses

Monday, 19 September 2011

What is good: Tribu jewellery

The Tribu Facebook page have posted an interesting post describing a brief background on the properties that the stone turquoise are believed to have.

Like the Aztecs, the PuebloNavajo and Apache tribes cherished turquoise for its amuletic use; the latter tribe believe the stone to afford the archer dead aim. Among these peoples turquoise was used in mosaic inlay, in sculptural works, and was fashioned into toroidal beads and freeform pendants. The Ancestral Puebloans (Anasazi) of the Chaco Canyon and surrounding region are believed to have prospered greatly from their production and trading of turquoise objects. The distinctive silver jewelry produced by the Navajo and other Southwestern Native American tribes today is a rather modern development.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

What is good: Tribu Jewellery

Three wise monkeys pendant, apparently a symbol that originates from ancient Japanese traditions.

The Three Wise Monkeys , sometimes called the Three Mystic Apes, are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle to "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". The three monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil. Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolizes the principle of "do no evil". He may be shown crossing his arms.

Monday, 12 September 2011

What is good: Decorated Skin

I have taken a book out of the college library today, this is an incredible book and I love the pictures. It has been by far the most helpful and relevant book so far. 'Return of the Tribal' was a great book, but it didn't go into much depth about the practices of various tribes and the reasons behind their traditions. This book however has a lot more information and describes tribal body art in much more depth.

Symbols of fulfilment, social values and ideals
Many African societies and tribes decorate themselves with striking scars, carefully incised to create beautiful patterns. The purpose and function of these markings can only be understood in context of the social background, they can denote a particular age group, or signify membership to a particular tribe. The main purpose of the scars is to appeal to the opposite sex, because a person is not viewed as an adult or ready for marriage without them. In some cultures people without visible scars are viewed as cowards or anti social.
The Kaleri women of Nigeria display and show off their scars proudly, making them attractive and desirable. 

Lifelong markings: testimony to personal experience
Scarring in tribes are used in various ways and for different reasons. Scars are marks that document and record important stages in a persons life. For example the Nuba make incisions over the eyes to improve eyesight, while incisions in the temples are believed to relieve headaches.
The women of the Ga'anda in Nigeria go through a series of scarifications in eight stages extending across several years. From the age of around five the scars are incised on specific parts of the body in a particular order by experts, who are usually older women. When this programme of scarification is complete, the women are finally viewed as adult and eligible for marriage. The designs are know as hleeta.
The scars on the back of the Nuba woman below show that she has had at least one child.

Karo women in south-west Ethiopia have permanent scar patterns that indicate their age and status.

Attributes of recognition among the Mursi and the Bumi
The Mursi and the Bumi come from the Omo valley of south-west Ethiopia. The Omo valley groups are well known for the diversity of their decorative scars which ornament their faces and bodies.
The scars displayed on the arms and bodies of the Mursi are often a record of personal achievements, which can include feats of bravery in battle or outstanding skill in hunting. The marks improve the social status of the wearer.

Bumi men scar their faces and wear multicoloured decorations made from clay which are often adorned with feathers

Prescribed patterns and shades of colour: women's markings
The scarification of the Nuba women's bodies reflects their role in society and reflects their responsibilities. However it is not only scars that denote a woman's status. Only girls that have not yet been pregnant normally cover their entire bodies with a mixture of oil and ochre. A woman's hair is also shaved at the initial stage of pregnancy and is only allowed to grow back after birth.
To make the scars the skin is first raised with a thorn and then cut with a sharp blade, normally a sharp knife or a razor blade.

Luluwa: the marks of dignity, hope and vitality
Decorative scars are both aesthetic and symbolic for the Luluwa of Zaire.
The head and neck of this Luluwa motherhood figure are covered with a variety of decorative scars, denoting healthy and flawless skin and the particular psychological and physical qualities of the wearer.

Many African governments have now banned 'tribal-marks' and scarification denoting membership to a particular kinship. However even in the countries that it os banned it still continues in secret.

The fantastic 'uniforms' of the Nuba
In some south-eastern Nuba groups the colour of the body painting and hairstyles show a person's age group. The body painting is seen as a fine art and are only done by the most talented amongst the tribe, as the artistic decorations are to stand up to the scrutiny of a public that is only too ready to scorn and mock unsuccessful patterns and colour combinations.  

Men in the same village will usually decorate themselves together, still no two patterns are the same. For the Nuba the hairstyle is very important, which rounds off the general impression. They even sleep with neck supports as to not crack and ruin the carefully constructed hairstyle.

Symbol of youth: Masai body decoration
 Masai warriors from Kenya and Tanzania spend a long time painting their bodies, drawing patterns with their fingers while the paint is still wet. The paintings emphasize the health and fitness of the young male body. The patterns often symbolize deeds of heroism, for example a particularly successful hunt. 

The end of the warrior phase of life is marked by the olngesherr ceremony, at which the young men are finally accepted into the ranks of the elders. Many Masai decorate themselves with blue and red face-paint for the ceremony.

White: a link with the supernatural
For many African tribes people, white symbolizes the link with the spirits of the ancestors and other supernatural beings. Elsewhere, or on different occasions it can also be a symbol for friendly and helpful spirits. In many societies white also has a purifying, healing and protective effect. The white colouring material is generally made from kaolin, light clay, flour or ground mussel shells.

Face painting is also an essential part of daily body care, and also serves as a protection from insects.

Different groups distinguish themselves from each other by means of their distinctive facial paint patterns. 

Painted bodies, painted walls: living art forms amongst the Loma
For the Loma in Guinea it is only the women who paint their bodies, which is know as podai. Only black is used to paint the body, the pigment being made out of charcoal and oil from the podai tree. These body paintings are not only an aesthetic, they also mark the change from the natural state to the realm of culture. Once the colours are faded, the girls are then considered as adults within their tribe.

A young Samburu man in warrior's array.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

What is good: Return of the Tribal

I have bought a book off of Amazon, it is a really great reference and has some beautiful pictures. Although it doesnt go into great depth about different traditions that various tribes practice when concerning body art it is a good starting point and has given be a basis to continue my research online.

Among the Lobi tribe both boys and girls are painted to resemble skeletons during initiation. Although in our society we commonly associate skeletons with death, for the tribal people of Africa, Australia and Papua New Guinea the skeleton symbol indicates their ability of  'x-ray vision' which attests to the ability to see beyond, or into normal physical appearances.

The picture of the man below is a tribesman of the Suri of southern Ethiopia who has painted himself in  preparation for a stick fight. The thought is that the make up makes him look more fierce.
The Kayan (Dayak) girl below shows her wealth with her gold teeth and heavy earrings that elongated her earlobes.

Turkana woman from Kenya with multiple piercings along the outside edge of her ear,

Kirdi women wear long inserts in their ears to protect them from 'evil exhalations' of supernatural forces.
The Suri women of southwest Ethiopia stretch their lower lip with large wood or clay plates. This starts six months before they are due to get married. The larger the stretching at marriage the more to be paid by the future husband and his family. The plates may only be taken out for private meals, sleep or in the company of just women. Another reason for these plates in some tribes is to lessen the chances of quarrels, if a person cant speak the whole day, fewer irritations will arise in the community.

Padang girls never take off their neck rings, they are exchanged for bigger, heavier coils at the age of twelve or fourteen which 'make her a woman'.

Scarification marks are done for many different reasons and vary from tribe to tribe. Here the Kaleri woman of Nigeria has marks on her pregnant belly, a process that begins when a girl reaches menarche. The younger girl has different markings as she is not pregnant yet. 

Piercing of the nasal septum is a favourite among the tribal papua of New Guinea and is widespread amongst the men. The materials used for the inserts vary widely, ranging from boar tusks to twigs and rings made from mother of pearl. 
In the contemporary west nostrils are more popularly pierced, the nasal septum piercing however is a lot more rare. 

Kayah women wear heavy earrings that stretch their ear lobes considerably.
Kayaw women of Burma wear heavy metal rings around their legs, reshaping them, although they do not seem to hinder everyday movement. 

Marubo men and women both pierce their nasal septum and thread strings of beads through the hole, they are regarded as means attunement as to the natural environment in which they live. They regard themselves as caretakers of this land however, not owners. 

Among the upper-class Mangbetu of northern Zaire the art of shaping the cranium to create an elongated skull is practiced. It is an ancient human practice, but has survived into the twentieth century amongst this tribe. This is only possibly during the first half year of a baby being born whilst the skull bones have not yet fully formed. The child's head is wrapped tightly with thick cloth thus shaping the skull. 

In some African tribes the teeth of tribesmen are filed down to points, this is usually seen as a form of cosmetic surgery to enhance ones beauty. However, researchers have now established that people with filed teeth, and in the absence of modern dental care are less prone to a number of diseases. 

'Return of the Tribal' a celebration of body adornment, Rufus C. Camphausen

What is good: Tribu Jewellery

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

What is good: Inscribing Meaning

I have decided to broaden my research to tribal jewellery in general, and have narrowed it down to tribes in Africa. I have done this because I think that the meanings behind tribal jewellery are really interesting and interlink with traditions.

I have got a book out of the library called 'Inscribing meaning, writing and graphic systems in African art'. The images in this book are amazing but don't really directly link to my topic of research, I found it hard to find books on just tribal jewellery. However I can see how this book can link my topic to graphic design, as it focuses on writing and lettering used within African traditions.

There is an interesting section of the book where it describes how African tribes people not only use their bodies to inscribe text but also their jewellery. The idea of inscribing onto an amulet is 'a dialect of concealment and revelation is at work. The very notion of an amulet is rooted in the concept of the secret, because the written inscription is withheld from view.' The thought is that the person wearing the amulet is the holder of the secrets. The signs imprinted on the silver amulet stand for animals and astronomical constellations. The amulets in north and east Africa also often contain talismanic prayer papers.
Mande hunters of Mali attach amulets to their shirts to display their knowledge, skill and expertise in the forest that has been acquired throughout their lifetime. Only the hunter knows the contents of the amulets, and he is the only one to wear the shirt.