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African Adornment

Page history last edited by Sol Hashemi 15 years ago

African Adornment

Whitney Bosel, Sol Hashemi, Elizabeth Mackeen, Marissa Marcelo, and Jessica Tessman



For nearly all cultures beauty, status, and identity, each in their own way informed by cultural or societal conventions, are considered in a person's choices of their outward adornment, manifested either in temporary accessories and clothing, or more permanent forms of body modification.  With a specifc focus on Africa, our group has examined a variety of ways various cultural groups adorn their bodies, and the reasons behind these decisions.  Across Africa a sense of aesthetics is very strong, and there are a variety of mediums and forms of adornment.  In the northern regions of Africa we have examined body painting, scarification and tattoos all of which demonstrate the importance of skin adornment, and the treatment of the skin as a surface.  Other members of our group have focused on different areas in the continent, looking at practices and associated accessories with lip plates and labrets and encumberments, which work to change the body's shape and structure or a more structural level. Still others in the group have chosen to look at jewelry, which treats the body in yet a different way, seeing it more as a form or blank slate on which to place external decoration. 



Body Painting


Tattooing in Ancient Egypt



Lip Plates and Labrets







Further Resources

For a video on the various forms of beauty in Africa visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwOXCmjTsvs

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