7 Most Extreme Tribal Body Modifications

Before you go WTF and hate on these beautiful people, understand that these body modifications were done even before you were born.

Thousands of years ago and certainly without your permission. So don't hate what you don't understand and appreciate the glory that we are all as humans! These peeps are represent of HUMANITY'S MOST EXTREME. And so we pay our respects by educating ourselves.

1. LIP STRETCHING

Lip stretching
Lip stretching

The Mursi tribe are an african tribe from the isolated Omo valley in Southern Ethiopia near the border of Sudan. There are an estimated 10,000 members of this fascinating tribe who are well-known for their trademark "Lip saucer" plates ("dhebi a tugoin")

Lip stretching
Lip stretching

Like other forms of body modifications (tattoos, piercings, etc.), lip stretching is seen as an expression of social adulthood & reproductive potential. Often, the size of the plate is correlated with the size of a woman's bridewealth. So you can see how these women persevered until their lips can take plates of up to 12 centimeters or more in diameter! :-O

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2. NOSE PLUGS

Nose Plugs
Nose Plugs

The Apatani women are believed to be the most beautiful in the tribe that they had to make themselves look unattractive to protect them from invaders from other tribes. Hence, they wore large wooden plugs in their noses and tattoo their faces.

Nose plugs
Nose plugs

The Apatani tribe is located in the Ziro valley in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, northeast of India.

3. SCARIFICATION

Scarification
Scarification

Though Scarification is done all over the world, it is practiced heavily by the Sepik river tribes in Papua New Guinea, the Karo tribe in Southern Ethiopia and all throughout Sudan and regarded as a beauty enhancement, a rite of passage, or marks of social status.

Scarification
Scarification

The elders of the tribe use blades to cut the young men all over their faces and bodies in a pattern resembling an alligator's as they believed that the alligator will consume any trace of boyhood left in their bodies and will thus turn them into men. This is why they are so-called the "crocodile people".

Scarification
Scarification

Boys receive their scars around adolescence to mark their transition to manhood. This makes them eligible to take the responsibilities of the older men in their tribe.

4. NECK STRETCHING

A rarity in Myanmar, a woman models her brass neck rings, Loikaw, Burma (Myanmar), 1994
A rarity in Myanmar, a woman models her brass neck rings, Loikaw, Burma (Myanmar), 1994

The Kayan are a Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority in Myanmar that are most famous for the many brass coils that the women wear around their necks. They are often called "giraffe women" by outsiders because they can wear up to 25 coils, which they wore all throughout their lifetimes.

Neck stretching
Neck stretching

Children are often given their first set of coils at an early age of 5. The set consists of coils weighing about 4.5 pounds. And through time, more rings are added.

Neck stretching
Neck stretching

Contrary to popular belief, some say that women don't have their necks "elongated". Instead it works the other way. As the weight of the coils press down, the clavicle is lowered. And with each coil addition, it falls further...compressing the rib cage as well! The shoulders finally fall away to give the appearance of an elongated neck. Well, what do you guys think? I still see a neck that's been stretched out! @_@

5. TEETH SHARPENING

Teeth sharpening
Teeth sharpening

Teeth sharpening is a practice of manually sharpening the teeth (usually the front incisors) using a chisel or knife to file them desirable shapes. The image above is a Bagobo woman of Mindanao (from the Eastern-most part of the Philippines) with filed and blackened teeth.

Teeth sharpening
Teeth sharpening

Teeth were sharpened as a rite of passage for adolescents. To say it's painful is an understatement.

Teeth sharpening
Teeth sharpening

In Bali, Indonesia, teeth were filed down because it was thought that the teeth represented anger, jealousy, and other similarly negative emotions. The image above is a Mentawai woman from Indonesia bearing tattoos and sharpened teeth!

6. EAR STRETCHING

Ear stretching
Ear stretching

The Masai tribes of Kenya and the Huaorani tribes of the Amazon practice this custom by using weight to elongate the ear lobes, or by upsizing the piercing to elongate it further.

Ear stretching
Ear stretching

Piercings are stretched by using larger and larger pieces of stone, wood, thorn or tusks like some of us do today.

Ear stretching
Ear stretching

Looks really awesome when adorned with beads and other kinds of jewelry.

7. HAND-POKED TATTOOS

Hand-poked tattoos
Hand-poked tattoos

Hand-poked tattooing is the father of modern electric tattooing as it began waaay back when technology wasn't yet fully developed. It's the beginning of it all. Hand-poked tattoos are still being practiced in all corners of the world today, and modernized by tattoo artists of the younger generations. The image above is of my favorite manual tattoo artist of all time, Apo Whang Od, from the Philippines. <3

Clearly folks, whether you like it or not, it's in our blood. Our ancestors immortalized it. And we see them on their children today. And so We pay our respects, preserve the culture and keep it extreme! Keep it real and keep lovin', everyone! Have an awesome day!

James Allen quote
James Allen quote

minerva

@minerva

Hi! My name’`s Minnie, writer & Tattooer at Good Hand Tattoo Philippines. We specialize in creating All-original and Custom-designed Traditional tattoos. Please show your support by following our page on Facebook :-)

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