Home Forums African Artifacts/ art work/museum AFRICAN ARTWORKS: TATTOO AND SCARIFICATION.

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      Tattoo and epidermal alteration in Africa goes beyond skin deep. They are signifiers of tribal affiliation and indicate progress within one’s own society and culture. Some of them are methods of curing disease or protecting the carrier against spirits and reflections of one’s own personality.



      One form of tattoo that is often practiced in different parts of Africa is scarification. Scarifications are usually done by using sharp objects like stones, glass, knives, or other tools to tear the skin or burning the skin; superficial incisions are made on the skin.



      Scarification has as an important element of the culture of different groups. Sharp objects are used to create meaningful pictures, words, or designs. Scarification is usually permanent and it communicates a plethora of cultural expressions.



      The process produces scars of different sizes and shapes. The positions of this scar indicate clan identity, status within a community, passage into adulthood, or even spiritual significance.



      This artwork is a major aspect of African culture and cultural practice among African ethnic groups. In the Yoruba ethnic group, the primary function of scarification was to identify a person’s tribe, family, or patrilineal heritage.



      It also had secondary functions which were beauty, creativity, and protection. This tribal identification and facial stripes helped during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.




      The repatriated slaves were reunited with their communities as a result of this tribal identification.



      This scarification is usually done during childhood; the facial marks on a child assign the child full clan member rights. Each tribe had different inscription patterns, which appeared in various sizes, shapes, and in different positions within the face and the body.



      The location and position of the mark’s inscription depend on the tribe and culture. The tribal marks could be inscribed on the breast, arm, lap, or buttocks, but they are usually on the face.






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