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.

The Different Types of Body Piercing

Here’s a short introduction to types of Body Piercings. You should get to know them before getting pierced. That way you can choose the type that is right for you.

Ear Piercing

Ear piercing is by far the most common piercing seen. Women have had their earlobes pierced for decades, and men have started to do the same within the last 40 years. The earlobe piercing is the most socially acceptable piercing. Most employers will allow at least one small earring in each lobe, barring safety reasons. This can be for simple decoration, or to show solidarity and a member of a social group. Military personnel, especially naval officers would pierce their left earlobe as a show of camaraderie Gay men used to pierce their right earlobe as a show of “gay pride.” This is no longer case. Men and women now pierce one or both earlobe, either once or multiple times as a matter of self expression.

Also common is cartilage piercing in the ear. Lesbians have begun piercing the right upper corner of their ear cartilage for the same reason of solidarity. There is no widely known symbolism for piercings elsewhere in the ear cartilage. Most portions of the ear cartilage can be safely pierced by an experienced professional.

Nose Piercing

The nose is traditionally pierced in two places, the first being on the side of one nostril. Generally smaller studs are placed in this spot. The second is a cartilage piercing through the septum, or the center part of the nose. This piercing has been affectionately dubbed, “the responsible facial piercing”, because if a small U-shaped bar is placed there, the piercing can be easily be turned back into the nostrils. This makes the piercing more difficult to spot.

Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercings run vertically from the upper to the lower surface of the tongue. This piercing is said to give increase pleasure during oral sex, but most people have this piercing for aesthetic purposes. With proper jewelry, this piercing will heal very quickly, but special consideration should be given when using metal jewelry. Metal can cause damage to the gums and tooth enamel.

Nipple Piercing

Nipple piercing is done equally by men and women. This is a piercing that is considered attractive. However, many also choose this piercing because it increases the sensitivity of the nipple, making sensation more pleasurable. Because individual nipple sizes vary, this piercing is more difficult for some than others. Smaller nipples are much harder to pierce. Those individuals with smaller nipples are encouraged to seek a professional with more experience in this area.

Naval Piercing

In ancient Egypt, this particular piercing was reserved solely for the pharaoh. In today’s society, this is a common piercing. This piercing is usually sported by those that want to show off their mid-drift. This piercing is more common in women than men, solely because there are styles of women’s blouses designed to show this area.

Genital Piercing

Genital piercing is popular in both men and women. Those piercing directly on or very near the sex organs amplify sensation to make stimulation more pleasurable. Some of the popular piercing sites for male genitalia include: the tip/head, at the base of the shaft at the public bone, and the scrotum. For women piercings can be placed on: the clitoris; the hood; the inner and outer labia; and the triangle.

Essential Things to Know About Cartilage Piercing

Lots of people are terrified of acquiring cartilage piercings on their ears and nose on account of the bumps that arrive after the piercing and in addition the compact scars that acquire round the exit holes. Often, the piercing might also bring about abscesses, a soreness pocket of pus.

How Cartilage Piercing is done?

Here we reveal you on how it is completed..

1. First, wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap

2. Wet the piercing with water

3. After placing few drops of anti-bacterial soap on the piercing, perform them right into a lather applying a cotton bud.

4. Loosen any crusted discharge and take away it from your jewelry and skin applying a cotton bud.

5. Leave the antibacterial soap on the piercing for 2 minutes whilst rotating the jewellery backwards and forwards. This aids the disinfectant penetrate the piercing.

6. Rinse the piercing with water, and air dry it. Tend not to try and dry with a towel, for the reason that it might carry bacteria and cause infection.

When and How does it heal?

Listed here are some critical details and guidelines in regards to the healing of cartilage piercing.

1. Generally it takes 3-12 months of time for therapeutic, according to the extent of piercing

2. Don’t touch your cartilage piercings with unwashed fingers. Also, don’t let other individuals touch till it is completely healed.

3. Clean your piercing only the moment daily, till the piercing is totally healed.

4. Don’t modify the jewellery till the piercing is healed.

5. Using antibacterial soap, which is made up of chloroxylenol or triclosan, to clear your cartilage piercing

6. Wash and dry you hair just before the piercing, and also later on following the piercing.

7. Sometimes an infection may perhaps induce soreness, redness and strange discharge. In such scenarios consult your physician for the expected treatment.

8. Don’t use Betadine, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol swabs or tea tree oil to clear your cartilage piercing.

9. Vitamin C and Zinc can help in therapeutic the infections.

The Known disadvantages of cartilage piercing

The key detriments of cartilage piercing are:

1. Infection

The problem transpires from different resources. The man or woman may get infection from unhygienic earrings and through the environment you choose for piercing.

2. Scarring

Scarring occur when tissues inside the piercing spot are affected. The particular person may possibly get a ridge or possibly a bump to the spot when it’s carried out wrongly.

Disadvantages in using cartilage gun

The person who’s getting a cartilage piercing might not prefer a cartilage gun to pierce the ear. This may take an extended time for it to recover. It might also make prolonged soreness and scarring. This happens because the guns will not be meant to pierce the cartilage. Therefore it may well upset the cartilage and produce issues.

Tragus and Anti-Tragus Piercings

Tragus piercings and anti-tragus piercings are becoming increasingly popular – in fact, tragus piercings are now one of the most common ear piercings around. Ear piercings are the most familiar form of Body piercings and the tragus and anti-tragus are fresh expressions of the mundane ear lobe piercings.

The tragus is a thick little piece of cartilage that juts out from the ear canal. To get an understanding of the exact location of the tragus, place a finger by the outer corner of your eye. From this point, trace the finger back, in a straight line, until you touch your ear. The first piece of your ear you will feel is your tragus. You should be able to grasp this little nub between your fingers – this is where the piercing will go through.

There are all sorts of misconceptions about the tragus. Some people may try to tell you that piercing your tragus will affect your balance – that is simply not true. Your balance is affected by fluids in your ear drums, which are located deep within your ears, and are far away from any pierce-able surface. The tragus does not have anything to do with your balance, so don’t be fooled by uneducated people who might try and tell you otherwise. In fact, the only purpose a tragus has is to hold your headphones (such as the standard iPod headphones) securely in your ears; and once pierced, there are thousands of headphones to choose from which will not irritate your piercing. Honestly, the tragus has nothing to do with your ear, your hearing, or your balance. It is just a flap of cartilage – perhaps if humans developed sonar and echo-location the tragus would be useful (super developed traguses help bats use sonar, for example) – but alas, on our species, it’s just a surface begging to get pierced!

The tragus is recommended to be pierced with a captive bead ring, but a barbell will suffice. The reason rings are almost always preferred for the initial piercing as opposed to barbells is because rings tend to heal quicker, better, and more securely. Once healed, you can use any type of jewelry, even typical jewelry normally reserved for ear lobes. Your piercer will help you choose which gage is right for you (and by the way, expanding the tragus is not unheard of, but rare), mark the location on your ear, and push the needle right through. Some piercers may put a cork behind the tragus to “catch” the needle, some piercers just use clamps to aid the needle through, and yet others just use their hands. Each piercer is different, so they will pierce according to their style. Clamps are the most common method, and many people report that the actually clamping to secure the skin hurts more than the piercing! The tragus piercing should be painless – there aren’t a lot of nerves there – but some people do feel slight and temporary pain. Because it is so close to the ear, some people even say they hear a little “pop!” sound as the needle pushes through. Should you hear a little noise, it’s nothing to be concerned about. Once the needle is in, the jewelry is slid into place and secured, and you are done! The whole process, from prep to finish, shouldn’t take more than five minutes.

The tragus does take a while to heal – sometimes up to a year to be fully and completely healed. Many people irritate their new piercing by placing their dirty cell phones up to their ear or by sleeping on the ear with the piercing. I suggest NOT doing either of these for at least the first six months. If your piercing does become infected (and it shouldn’t with proper aftercare), soak it in warm salt water, don’t touch it with your hands, and perhaps (using a q-tip) rub some diluted tea tree oil around the piercing. Never use any sort of rubbing alcohol, for this will irritate and scar your piercing. Your piercer will give you a complete rundown of what to expect and how to handle your new piercing though, so pay attention to their advice.

The Anti-Tragus is very similar to the tragus. It is pierced the same way, the aftercare is the same, and the healing time is the same too. To locate your anti-tragus, place a finger on your earlobe (generally where someone’s first ear piercing would be) and with your finger, draw a straight line up. The flap of cartilage you come to before the empty space is your anti-tragus. Your tragus and anti-tragus are located very close to each other, and the anti-tragus is just opposite of the tragus. Just like the other piercing, this piercing does not affect your hearing or balance. The anti-tragus is rarer than the tragus, mostly because many people don’t think they can get this area pierced, but it can be pierced and it does look great when healed. Curved Barbells and captive ring beads are used most frequently in these piercings.

If you are considering an anti-tragus or tragus piercings, be sure to use a licensed professional. Once it is fully healed, the way your ornament or decorate the piercing is completely up to you, and the jewelry possibilities are endless!