Body Adornment

Body Adornment
Is it about beauty, self-expression
or something else?
What defines beauty
or self-expression?
How much is culturally
Where do you draw
the line? you
draw a line?
Henna is typically applied during special occasions like weddings and
Muslim festivals. Many women have Henna applied to their hands and
feet. It is usually drawn on the palms and feet, where the design will be
clearest because the skin on these surfaces naturally contains less of
the pigment, melanin. Henna was originally used as a form of
decoration mainly for brides.
Burmese women,
tradition of
stretching necks
with rings
Body Adornment from
the Surma in Ethopia
Indigenous body painting is
highly developed among the
Xingu native tribes who live
in the Amazon in Brazil. Note
how his hair is colored red
with a paste made from
seeds of the annatto
(urucum) tree. A black dye is
made from fruit of the
genipap (genipapo) tree. The
butterfly design is a common
theme in the Xingu and
abstract swallowtail butterfly
designs can be seen on both
his face and chest.
The Kaiapó are a powerful and wellknown Brazilian tribe who live in an
area that is almost the size of Austria.
Their appearance is highly decorative
and colourful, using face and body
paint, beads and feathers. The
Kaiapó believe their ancestors
learned how to live communally from
social insects such as bees, which is
why mothers and children paint each
other's bodies with patterns that look
like animal or insect markings,
including those of bees. Traditional
ceremonies may last many months
and mark the beginning and end of
seasons as well as rites of passage.
The practice of full body tattoos is associated with the Japanese Yakuza, one of the most powerful
organized crime syndicates in the world. It is Japan's version of the Mafia, with 85,000 members who
trace their roots back to 17th century Samurai warriors. Like gangs of today, they were tightly knit and
spent their free time gambling. Yakuza have always prided themselves upon the code of Bushido, or
way of the Samurai
Native Americans are known for their
body paintings. The paint (made of clays
and ochres) acted as a shield against
evil and also protected them against
vicious insects. Face painting is
considered to be an important tradition
among them as a sacred social act of
distinction and a cultural heritage. On
special occasions faces of the tribe
members are painted to augment one’s
appearance and power..
Agnieszka GliƄska is a choreographer and artist from Kraków, Poland, who has founded Art
Color Ballet, a dance theater company in 1998. She has integrated contemporary dance with
body painting, collaborating with various artists; including photographers, stage designers,
musicians and others to create multidimensional and unique artistic performances for which the
company is regularly awarded at various international body painting festivals.
Craig Tracy is hands-down one of the best body painters in the world. At
first glance, this piece looks like a simple painting of a tiger. Look a little
closer, and you'll notice that the tiger's face is actually painted on the back
of three separate women. Entitled “The Last South China Tiger” this
particular project is part of Save China’s Tigers‘ efforts to protect the
remaining striped felines in China
Emma Hack, an
Australian artist,
started her career
as a children's face
painter, qualified
hairdresser and
make-up artist. She
gradually moved to
body painting of
world acclaim.