Body piercing and modification may seem like hot and edgy new expressions, but in fact the human race has a long history of making changes and adornments that can radically alter how a body looks and functions, changing perceptions within and far beyond their communities. We here at H&H Orlando are happy to share some highlights from the history of body piercing!
Some of the cultures we associate with antiquity have shown us that piercing has been going on for millennia. The oldest mummy we’ve ever discovered in Egypt is around 5,000 years old and he had ear piercings, something discovered to be incredibly common in Egyptian civilization. In fact, piercings used to denote status and only pharaohs were allowed to have pierced navels.
Biblical Middle East
Biblical accounts of the past shed light on the use of piercing in ancient Bedouin cultures where the size of the piercings communicated the wealth of the wearer. Abraham’s daughter-in-law Rebekah received a nose ring as a gift. Ear piercings are noted as being the mark of slaves in the Book of Deuteronomy.
Roman soldiers had a great love for advertising their dominance and virility into just about everything they did and their piercings were no exception. Their pierced and bejeweled nipples not only expressed how tough they were, but also how wealthy.
Native American Tribes
Native tribes in the Pacific Northwest as well as Mesoamerican cultures including the Inca and Aztecs are known to have pierced their tongues in religious blood rituals. The Mesoamericans also pierced their ears, noses, and lips, which indigenous cultures still do today in that region of the Americas.
During the dark ages piercing became something of a religious taboo, but the art form enjoyed resurgence in the renaissance as royals and nobles sought to express their wealth through lavish adornments. Piercing became common among European men at this time and would not see such a comeback until the Victorian era with the emergence of what came to be known as the Prince Albert.
Piercing in America has traditionally been reserved for the ears of polite society but began picking up popularity after World War II. Subcultures in Britain and America began flaunting navel and nose piercings before pushing the envelope further to include more radical transformations and eventually creating technologies like cranial implants to develop the art of body modification to the extreme.
If you’ve got something traditional in mind (or something decidedly not!), H&H Orlando’s body piercing and modification wizard can hook you up with the skills and information you need to say what you want with your body. Set up an appointment today to discuss your ideas on how you want to improve the way you are perceived to make your own history!