• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Body Painting Among the Nuba

Page history last edited by Sol Hashemi 15 years, 1 month ago


The Southeastern Nuba live upon the mountain side villages of Kao, Nyaro, and Fungor in the Kordofan province of the Democratic Republic of Sudan. They see body painting as a way of celebrating the healthy body. 



A gray white background is made using a combination of limestone and ground clam shells.

Blacks are produced from the ash of burnt wood. 

All reds, oranges and yellows are produced from iron ochre.

Males and females use iron ochre that is sourced from different areas. This results in a slight variation in hue between the two. 

Blues introduced by Arab traders.




The three grade age organization only applies to males. The grades define organized competitive athletics within the tribe. 

Loer is characterized by being of wrestlingage, 8-17.

Kadundor by bracelet and stick fighting, age 17-31.

Kadonga by retirement from active tribal sports, age 31-.

Lore youth make the most elaborate designs and spend up to an hour a day decorating themselves.

Kadonga ridiculed if they continue to paint.   


Aesthetic in nature, whether representational or not.

Must not be too elaborate as too distract from the body.

Highlight attractive features, hide ugly ones.

Attract the opposite sex.




Comments (1)

Katelind Donahue said

at 12:22 pm on Jun 5, 2009

I think you chose a very interesting topic, one that I had never heard of before. I love learning about the different kinds of pigments that can be created using natural minerals found in the environment. I think it would be interesting to know if the designs or techniques have changed over time at all.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.