Saturday, June 6, 2009


Scarification, like tattoos, are utilized by tribal communities for any number of reasons. Just like in present Western societies, their purpose can range from pure decoration to a permanent declaration of membership to a specific group.

Some tribes start to inscribe their children at birth. This process continues even after death.

I find the amount of commitment and trust one must possess to endure such a process, as well as the beauty that comes from what I can only assume as an excruciating process extremely inspiring. While I could never get this done, I'd love to emulate the look through embossed leather in similar motifs.

"At a time when the Western world is desperately seeking to escape a dreadful uniformity of dress, it is important to understand the wealth and symbolism of practices from other corners of the world, a veritable language employed by people who are sometimes still dubbed 'primitive.' Yet aren't we all 'barbaric' in someone else's eyes?" - Bernenice Geoffroy-Schneiter, Ethnic Style History and Fashion (2001)

The pictures below were scanned, again, from Ethnic Style. A great majority of these images were taken in the early to mid 20th century.

More images I pulled from google images:

*images from uihealthcare, flickr, and beautyisnotonlyskindeep blog


  1. These images are insane. I like the idea of translating the patterns into embossed leather.


  2. like the inspiration of those pix..just imagining putting bits and bobs of those scarification stuff into two layers of mesh (we say it like this) or transparent cloth... or even leather!! could make a great effect! I'm dragging them into my computer desktop!

    and yes thanks for your comment..I will be posting more pix of my loft, for my hair lamp I nearly never light it up...too scared that it turned into fire cuz its fake hair.. its only here for its craziness and weirdness!

  3. Utterly fascinating. Thanks again for posting. It's quite beautiful, but I can only imagine how painful that must be. I also wonder how they can estimate what the scar looks like, considering that every person scars differently. Then again, maybe everyone within a tribe has similar genetics, so it isn't really an issue. It is very similar to an embossing effect and it's interesting to think that what is considered ugly or unsightly in our culture, is beautifully symbolic in another.

    By the way, I'm quite glad the NIN show is solo as well, though I wouldn't have minded to catch a quick JA set. I had no idea the NIN set was shorter during these tours... for some reason I thought they were co-headining and playing a normal set.

  4. WOW amazing. and ps you totally have to steal those posters!! x

  5. i just thought about these images and how cool it would be to use these scars as an inspiration for a collection.

  6. a girl i work with (very young, and very impressionable) got scarification on her back. . . it was two words like "inspire" and "alive" or something horrid like that. . . i wonder if she has any clue the history behind the ritual. . . her boyfriend (a tattoo artist/piercer) is also into "Suspension" argh . . .

  7. how did I miss this post? Its so great. and the scars are so beautiful. But then I think all scars are quite beautiful anyway.

  8. I just can say that they are just fucking crazy... Really no offense but it's stupid for me to mutilate my body like that, I know that are just costumes but believes are always over value.


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