History of Ear Gauging in Tribal Civilizations

A study of the history of ear gauging indicates the practice to be as old as recorded human history. For males, this form of ear piercing has been a symbol of status, while for women, in addition to being used as means of bodily decoration, it has also been employed to signify the attainment of womanhood.

Ear gauging, which is also referred to as ear stretching, is the stretching of ear lobe piercings to larger diameters than that of the original piercing. It is a form of body enhancement or beautification that many young western people adopt to look ‘different’ from the usual crowd. However, this is not a modern form of body piercing, since it has been around for as long as archaeological records exist.

In many cases, ear gauging has been used historically to indicate the standing of members of a specific tribe, and in many respects this is still the situation today. Stretched piercings have been, and still are, a reflection on the individual’s sexual capability and also their superiority over other males in the tribe. The larger the stretching, the more important the individual.

Otzi the Iceman is a prime example of mummies known to have stretched ears. This is the earliest known example of ear gauging, Otzi having 7-11 mm ear piercings during 3300 BC. It has been suggested that the stretching of the ears noted in depictions of Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha, may have been caused by the weight of the gold jewelry he wore, but this is mere supposition.

It is supported, however, by the fact that the Masai tribe of Kenya and the Lahu and Karen-Paduang people of Thailand use this ‘gravity’ technique to stretch their piercings. Let us have a look at the ear gauging practices used today by various cultures.

A. Mursi Tribal Women

The Mursi is an Ethiopian tribe where the women are obliged to wear plates in their gauged ears and on their bottom lip. About a year prior to her marriage, or at about 15 years of age, a Mursi girl’s lip will be pierced by her mother and a wooden peg pushed through the incision.

Once healed, the peg is changed for a larger diameter one. Eventually, the peg is replaced by a plate of clay or wood, and this plate is successively changed for larger diameter ones until the required diameter is attained – from around 8 – 22 cm in diameter (3 – 9 inches). Once these plates have been secured, she receives a higher degree of respect than those without them, and is known as a ‘Bhansanai’.

These lip and ear plates need not be worn permanently, but are an expected adornment during special occasions such as during weddings and other celebrations, and when they serve food to men. Today, young women can generally make their own decision as to whether or not they follow this tradition.

B. The Masai People of Kenya

The practice of ear gauging has been common among Masai men and women for thousands of years. In recent years, however, most young men have not been following this custom, although you will still find many Masai women wearing ear decorations made from stones, cross-cut elephant tusks, wood and animal bones.

The original piercing is carried out using a thorn, sharpened twig or a sharp knife point. Once healed, ear gauging is then carried out by wearing increasingly heavy jewellery that pulls the lobe down and stretches the piercing. This is the traditional way of gauging ears in the more primitive cultures, although many Masai today will use proper ear gauging techniques, such as their own versions of insertion tapers or taper spikes. Beads are a common form of ornamentation, although plugs made from bone, tusks and wood are also used.

C. The African Fulani Tribe

Fulani women from Nigeria and Central Africa tend to use smaller diameter ear gauges, and decorate them using large gold domes or hoops carrying earrings. A Fulani child will have her ears pierced at around 3 years old, although they may not be stretched until she is older. The gauges used by Fulani women are relatively small compared to the Masai and Mursi, although the jewellery can be larger.

D. Asian Hill Tribes

Of the various hill tribes, the only two known to practice ear gauging are the Lahu from Thailand, and the Karen-Padaung (Longnecks) from Myanmar (Burma) and also the Phrae province in Thailand. That latter tribe are best known for their neck rings, offering the appearance of long necks, but both cultures believe the ear to be sacred and the more jewellery they can wear on the better. By gauging their ears, they are able to wear the maximum amount of jewellery they believe possible.

E. Mexican and Central American Civilizations

In Mayan and Aztec society, ear gauging was regarded as desirable for males. There are many Mayan representations of men with flares and ear plugs (ear spools) in gauged ears, and the material used was indicative of the social standing of the wearer. Jade ear plugs were worn by the higher classes, while the rest would use bone, stone, wood and other materials. In central Mexico, the craftsmanship of the Aztecs is evident in the ear gauging plugs and ornaments of gold and silver, though the lower classes would adorn their stretches earlobes with shells, copper and wood among many other imaginative materials.

Ear gauging has been carried out worldwide, and among other notable areas involved in this practice are Japan, where the Ainu used ear jewellery made from shells, bone and a ball and ring known as Ninkari. There are many other cultures worldwide where ear gauging was a part of their life, and even today many people regard ear stretching as a fashion statement and a way of expressing their own personality and individuality.

Formal and Informal Page Layouts Formats for Designing

A page layout is an art of arranging or organizing text and images (illustrations, symbols, photographs etc.) on a page or pages to create a desired and pleasing effect. A well-designed page attracts the reader’s attention and presents the material in an easy to read fashion. Modern page layout offers the Graphic Designer with many options that make his/her work very attractive, effective and unique.

i. Formal / Symmetrical layout:

This is a format that is divided into two equal parts to achieve balance. It is achieved when an imaginary vertical centre line divides the layout and each side of it contains an equal amount of copy text and illustrations. It expresses dignity and stability. The formatting “toolbar” on the computer has commands or operations which help designers in organizing their page layouts such as in typesetting their work according to specification. Examples are the Justified, Unjustified and Centered layouts.

• Justified: In this arrangement, all lines have the same length and are aligned to form a straight line at both left and right or flush left and right. Word spacing is adjusted so that each line fills the entire measure. It is the commonest format and is very easy to read. However, its demerit is that it contains a lot of hyphens.

• Unjustified: The lines of type in this format is either flushed left and rugged right or flushed right and rugged left. The flush left is common and easy to read but flush right is not popular and is difficult to read.

• Centered: Type lines in this arrangement appear rugged at both ends. The lines centered on an imaginary vertical line making it symmetrical. It is a good layout format for headlines and certificates.

ii. Informal Layout

It is also referred to as Asymmetrical Layout. This format has an informal balance. Each side contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations. Informal balance gives the artist the freedom in placing the different types and elements of design using personal opinion and taste. It is often difficult to read. Examples of the informal layout are contour, run-around and inclined layouts.

• Contour: In this style, each side contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations in an undulating form (move in a wavy pattern).

• Run-around: In this format, each side of the layout contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations in a circular form.

• Inclined: In this layout style, each side of the layout contains unequal amounts of copy text and illustrations which are slanted to either left or right (diagonal pattern).

The History and Evolution of Arrows in Graffiti Art

One of the most important design elements in graffiti art is the arrow. Arrows express movement and energy. In her groundbreaking book “Tag Town”, Martha Cooper photographed vintage graffiti tags in her Washington Heights neighborhood, still visible from the early 1970′s to 1980′s (tags are those hard to read scribbles you see on mailboxes and other surfaces around most cities). Many of these tags contained arrows, as well as stars, hearts, numbers, and crowns. From studying the images of these early tags, we were able to determine that the complex variations of arrows we see in today’s advanced Wildstyle graffiti letterforms originated from simple graffiti tags.

An arrow is an internationally understood symbol that is used on signs to simply indicate direction, as in “Entrance” or “Exit”. In graffiti art, however, an arrow is a powerful, visual tool that is often combined with letters to give them motion and dynamism. An arrow guides the eyes of the viewer in a specific direction. An arrow can project out from any side of a letter, weaving in and out, backwards and forwards, and around in circles, across a two-dimensional surface, creating depth and rhythm. Graffiti artist Ezo says that every graffiti writer has his or her own arrow and it’s true: the variations and design possibilities of an arrow are endless. An arrow can be drawn in all shapes and sizes; thick and chunky or long and spindly, pointy or squared, single or with multiple ends. An arrow can organically follow the flow and direction of a letter, like a vine. Or it can blast off of the side from which it protrudes, like a missile, as in the artwork of “The Rammelzee”, known as Gothic Futurism.

So, early graffiti writers incorporated simple arrows and other basic design elements into their tags to make them stand out and grab attention. From that simple beginning, the arrow has evolved into a multi-faceted, complex and autonomous art object of its own. One New York artist and graffiti writer, Mare 139, actually creates beautiful, 3-dimensional sheet-metal sculptures that contain only arrows, with light and space as parts of his designs. We think arrows are a fascinating and diverse element of graffiti letterforms, providing artists and students with continuous possibilities for innovation and style. We totally love arrows.

Surgical Steel Body Jewelry – Three Reasons Why Surgical Steel Body Jewelry is Your Best Choice

Are you interested in wearing body jewelry to give you a unique, fashionable look? If so, you should be aware of the many types that are available, and which are safest and most durable. Here are three reasons why you should put surgical steel body jewelry at or near the top of your list…

Varieties Of Body Jewelry Available

Much like traditional jewelry, body jewelry comes in many different styles, compositions, and price ranges. The most common is gold and gold plated. Solid gold, of course, is more expensive than gold plated. Organic, plastic, and glass are other types you will see.

Also popular is silver and steel. These minerals are relatively easy for jewelry craftsmen to work with, so you will find a lot of these on the market. What is important to understand is which are safest for you, your skin, and your piercings.

In general, plated pieces are the most prone to giving you unwanted skin problems and infections. You can generally tell by looking at their price tag or by asking a few simple questions. Most body jewelry costing less than five to ten dollars is plated, either with gold, silver, or steel.

Then again, some pieces crafted from glass or plastic are also in this price range, so it is best to ask before you buy. Glass and plastic are safer than plated items, but they are nowhere near as durable as those made from surgical steel, for example. We always recommend surgical steel body jewelry, especially for those on a limited budget. Here are the three main reasons why…

Surgical Steel Helps You Avoid Skin Problems

Surgical steel is a very high grade metal, and as the name suggests, it is frequently used in the medical profession where hygiene and safety are at a premium. If you buy from a reputable online source, you will get the best grade of surgical steel available.

The key is avoiding possible skin irritations and painful infections from buying plated or cheap pieces. Common sense precautions also come into play, like not letting anyone else wear your jewelry, nor borrowing any from someone else.

Reasonable Cost

You can buy body jewelry for as little as one dollar, and some pieces with precious stones run several hundred dollars. If you are on a budget, surgical steel items are ideal. Typically, you can get a durable, good looking piece for fifteen to twenty dollars.

Further, items made from this type of steel are available for any area of your body. Because it is increasing in popularity, you will find more and more selection of interesting and unique designs.

Durability

Steel is one of the most durable elements you can buy. Surgical steel is even stronger, so the item you buy will last for years.

Many other varieties of body jewelry will chip, fade, or tarnish. This is especially true with plated gold, silver, and plastic. Given their other risks, plated items in particular will not provide you any long lasting value.

Summary

Of the many varieties of body jewelry available, we recommend surgical steel as one of the safest, most economical choices. In general, you can find pieces in the fifteen to twenty dollar range, without fear of skin irritations or infections from cheaper grade metals.

Also, items made with this type of steel will last indefinitely. You can expect to own a fashionable, trendy item you can enjoy for years.