How women adorn themselves in different countries

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Categories: Nations

Women always strive to look beautiful, but the ideas of beauty in many countries differ. In this issue, you will learn about some of the ideals of female beauty in different parts of the world and unusual ways of decorating.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Long neck

In the photo: The necks of the padaung women do not lengthen – the shoulder belt falls under the weight of the rings. According to another popular opinion, the rings can be removed and put on without fear that the woman will die. Photo by Justin Vidamo.

Representatives of the Padaung people know firsthand that "beauty requires sacrifice". Starting from the age of 5, metal spirals made of brass with a thickness of 1 cm are wound around the necks of girls. Their number only increases with age. So, the necks of elderly women can wrap rings with a total height of 30 cm.

There is a version that this unusual tradition arose for the purpose of protection. Historically, the Padaung lived in the highlands of what is now Myanmar and Thailand. When their husbands went off in search of food, defenseless women could become victims of tiger attacks. Thus, the hoops served as a kind of armor, protecting them from the predator. And although today there are no tigers in this area for a long time, the tradition of circling the neck and legs has been preserved. In addition, women say that their men like long necks and that a girl with hoops is more likely to get married.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Long lip

In the photo: In addition to Mursi, other African tribes, in particular Surma, Kihepo and Kirdi, wear disks in Guba. The author of the photo: Achilli Family.

Girls from the Ethiopian Mursi tribe resort to a more radical way of decorating. They extend the lower lip with a circular disc (dhebi a tugoin). When a girl is 15-18 years old, her mother or any other woman from the tribe cuts the girl's lower lip with a knife or arrow and inserts a wand into it. Later, it is replaced with a clay or wooden plate: at first small, and eventually larger. Sometimes the diameter of such jewelry can reach 12-15 centimeters! To prevent the disc from pressing on the lower teeth, they are simply removed. However, not all, but 2-4 incisors. By the way, the disks can be removed during meals or before going to bed.

It is believed that the larger the disk, the higher the social status of a woman and the greater the ransom should be paid for her before the wedding. However, many Morsi girls get married before she is "rewarded" with a plate. In addition, there is an opinion that the plate can talk about age – the wider the plate, the older the woman. According to another version, the size of the plate directly depends on the authority of the girl.

There is an explanation for this unusual tradition. The Morsi believe that evil spirits can enter a person through the mouth. The disc in the lip prevented this. Interestingly, men do not resort to such protection. It is likely that by using such jewelry, they reduce the likelihood that someone from another tribe will steal their women.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Elongated earlobe

In the photo: A woman from the Maasai tribe with elongated earlobes. Photo by William Warby.

A similar procedure is typical for another African tribe. Maasai women living in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania use a similar disc to lengthen their ears. Girls at an early age are pierced with a piece of horn. Wooden objects are inserted into the hole. Over time, the load is increased with beads and bulky jewelry, until the lobe is pulled back to the shoulders. The longer the ears, the more respected and beautiful a woman is considered to be for her fellow tribesmen.

In order not to injure such beauty during walks or work, women throw the lobe behind the upper edge of the ear. And they also use the decoration for practical purposes: they can insert the necessary objects into the hole, for example, a smoking pipe or a cutlery. Interestingly, the elongated earlobe is not the only thing that makes women irresistible in the eyes of men from the Maasai tribe. For the sake of beauty, Maasai women also knock out their front teeth and shave their heads.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Dirty body

In the photo: The Himba (pictured) is not the only tribe whose representatives smear their bodies with a special mixture. In the Angolan Mwila tribe, women cover their hair with a paste made from oil, tree bark and manure. The author of the photo: Gusjer.

Women of the Himba people, who live in the north of Namibia, start their day with an unusual cosmetic procedure. They smear themselves from head to toe with a mixture of ochre, grease, and ash, even covering their dreadlocked hair. The resin of the omuzumba shrub is added to the ointment – it gives a red color. This mixture not only makes himba women attractive in the eyes of men, but also protects the skin from the scorching sun. Therefore, this ointment is used by both men and children. But even this is not enough to make a Himba woman look amazing. After the rite of passage into adulthood, the girls have their four lower teeth removed.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Face tattooing

Pictured: A Maori woman with a tattoo on her chin. Photo by Quinn Dombrowski.

Women of the Maori tribe-the indigenous population of New Zealand - have long decorated themselves with tattoos. Unlike men, who covered the entire body with complex patterns, women often painted only the face and chin. It was believed that girls were more in need of emotional "nourishment", so the" moko " (tattoo) covered the area around the mouth. In addition, such an unusual decoration attracted representatives of the opposite sex.

The Maori borrowed the technique of drawing patterns from Polynesia. Tattooing serves as a protection for Maori, and a manifestation of individuality, and a kind of passport, by which one could learn about the character and life of its owner. Previously, this art was not available to everyone. Only the upper classes were worthy of wearing an individual tattoo. It indicated status and noble birth, so a woman with a pattern had a better chance of getting married. In addition, the Maori believed that drawing helps to preserve youth and beauty. Today, the art of "ta-moko", forgotten in the 19th century, is experiencing its second birth. Many Maori people get tattoos to show their respect for the traditions of their ancestors.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Nose plugs

In the photo: A woman of the Apatani people. The author of the photo: rajkumar1220.

The women of the Apatani people of north-eastern India pierce the wings of their noses and insert plugs into the holes, which are called Yaping Hullo. It is believed that this tradition arose from the fact that long ago the women of this people were the most beautiful in the area and suffered from increased attention from men from other tribes. So that those do not have a desire to take away the beauties, they came up with such a frightening "decoration". In addition, the girls were tattooed in a straight line from the chin to the tip of the nose. Over time, nose plugs became a common element of the appearance of women and a distinctive feature of the tribe. However, in recent years, the younger generation of the Apatani people prefer to decorate themselves in other ways.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

Small foot

In the photo: An elegant leg of a Chinese woman. Photo from the German Federal Archive.

For the sake of beauty, Chinese women had to make serious sacrifices: from the beginning of the X to the beginning of the XX century, the cult of the elegant leg was popular in the country. The height of grace was considered to be a foot 10 cm long, curved in the shape of a crescent and resembling a lotus. To achieve this effect, girls at the age of 4 had their feet bandaged in such a way that the four toes were bent and in contact with the sole. In this position, the foot stopped growing and deformed. The small, hoof-like foot was considered a symbol of female chastity and the most attractive part of the female body. The beauties with bandaged legs had difficulty moving, limped and experienced pain when walking. But the chances of successfully marrying the owners of lotus legs were much higher. At the beginning of the XX century, the lotus foot went out of fashion, and Chinese women stopped suffering because of this canon of beauty.

How women adorn themselves in different countries

In the photo: An X-ray of the lotus foot. Source: Department of Prints and Photographs, Library of Congress.


In the photo: Women of the Surma tribe, who live in the Omo River valley in Ethiopia, not only decorate themselves with scars, but also can pull out the earlobes and lips with a ceramic disk. Photo by Rod Waddington.

Women of the African Surma tribe adorn their bodies with scars. It is believed that the more scars, the more resilient and attractive a woman is. Scarring is resorted to not only by the fair sex, but also by men, for whom it is primarily a demonstration of courage. By the number of scars on the right hand (in women – on the left), you can find out how many enemies were killed by the owner of the scars. The procedure of scarring is very unpleasant: the skin is cut with a blade, lifted with an acacia thorn and rubbed into the wound with a mixture of ash and plant juice, causing irritation. Thus, the scar gets the desired convex shape.

Keywords: Tattoo | Peoples | Women | Ritual | Beauty | Scar

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