Thursday, February 9, 2012

African Tattoo History

African Tattoo on Woman Source
The history of tattooing in Africa dates back thousands of years. Until the recent discovery ofOtzi the Iceman, the oldest known tattoos belonged to the mummy of Amunet, a priestess of the goddess Hathor somewhere between 2160 BC -1994 BC. With her simple parallel lines on her arms, legs, and an elliptical pattern below her navel, Amunet was the oldest glimpse we know had into tattooing in Africa, and the world. The designs found on her mummy, were believed to be symbols of fertility and rejuvenation. No male mummies in Egypt have been found with tattoos, but this does not mean they didn't exist, as male mummies have been found in Libya with tattoos of images relating to sun worship. In the tomb of Seti the first, dating back to around 1300 BC tattoos symbolizing Neith, a fierce goddess who led warriors into battle were also found on men. Very early tattoos portraying Bes, the god of sex and overseer of orgies have also been found on Nubian female mummies dating back to 400 BC.
Henna and Mehndi were popular in ancient India and ancient Egypt and still remain popular today in the Indian subcontinent, Middle East and North Africa.

Tattoo Meanings

The great variety of tribes and peoples of Africa mean that it's hard to state all the reasons for tattoos, however, tribal hierarchy, geographical location (as in the case of the Makonde tribal tattoos from Mozambique), spiritual protection, and rites of passage feature highly as reasons for tattooing throughout Africa's past.


All manner of animals, plants, ancestry and spirits are denoted in African Tattoo history, achieved not only through tattooing, but also through body-painting, cicatrisation and Scarification.

The Adinkra symbols, created by the Akan people of Ghana, and the Gyaman of Cote d'Ivoire in West Africa have become popular in some parts of the West.

The African Adinkra Symbols are becoming more commonly used in the West for tattoossource

Pazyryk Tattooed Mummies

The Pazyryk (Russian: Пазарык) is the name of an ancient nomadic people who lived in the Altai Mountains lying in Siberian Russia south of the modern city of Novosibirsk, near the borders of China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. In this part of the Ukok Plateau, many ancient Bronze Age barrow-like tomb mounds of larch logs covered over by large cairns of boulders and stones have been found. These spectacular burials of the Pazyryk culture closely resemble those of the Scythian people to the west. 

The first tombs were excavated by the archaeologist Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko beginning in the 1920s.

Pazyryk Chief

Pazyryk Tattooed Chief

Rudenko's most striking discovery was the body of a tattooed Pazyryk chief: a thick-set, powerfully built man who had died when he was about 50. Parts of the body had deteriorated, but much of the tattooing was still clearly visible. Subsequent investigation using reflected infrared photography revealed that all five bodies discovered in the Pazyryk kurgans were tattooed. No instruments specifically designed for tattooing were found, but the Pazyryks had extremely fine needles with which they did miniature embroidery, and these were probably used for tattooing.

The chief was elaborately decorated with an interlocking series of designs representing a variety of fantastic beasts. The best preserved tattoos were images of a donkey, a mountain ram, two highly stylized deer with long antlers and an imaginary carnivore on the right arm. Two monsters resembling griffins decorate the chest, and on the left arm are three partially obliterated images which seem to represent two deer and a mountain goat. On the front of the right leg a fish extends from the foot to the knee. A monster crawls over the right foot, and on the inside of the shin is a series of four running rams which touch each other to form a single design. The left leg also bears tattoos, but these designs could not be clearly distinguished. In addition, the chief's back is tattooed with a series of small circles in line with the vertebral column. This tattooing was probably done for therapeutic reasons. Contemporary Siberian tribesmen still practice tattooing of this kind to relieve back pain.

Ice Maiden

The Ice Maiden - 5th century BC
The most famous undisturbed Pazyryk burial so far recovered is the "Ice Maiden" found by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak in 1993, a rare example of a single woman given a full ceremonial wooden chamber-tomb in the 5th century BC, accompanied by six horses. It had been buried over 2,400 years ago in a casket fashioned from the hollowed-out trunk of a larch tree. On the outside of the casket were stylized images of deer and snow leopards carved in leather. Shortly after burial the grave had apparently been flooded by freezing rain and the entire contents of the burial chamber had remained frozen in permafrost. Six horses wearing elaborate harnesses had been sacrificed and lay on the logs which formed the roof of the burial chamber. The maiden's well-preserved body, carefully embalmed with peat and bark, was arranged to lie on her side as if asleep. She was young; her hair was still blonde; she had been 5 feet 6 inches tall. Even the animal style tattoos were preserved on her pale skin: creatures with horns that develop into flowered forms. Her coffin was made large enough to accommodate the high felt headdress she was wearing, which had 15 gilded wooden birds sewn to it. On a gold buckle retrieved from another tomb, a similar woman's headdress intertwined with branches of the tree of life are depicted. Her blouse was originally thought to be made of wild "tussah" silk but closer examination of the fibers indicate the material is not Chinese but came from somewhere else, perhaps India. She was clad in a long crimson woolen skirt and white felt stockings. Near her coffin was a vessel made of yak horn, and dishes containing gifts of coriander seeds: all of which suggest that the Pazyryk trade routes stretched across vast areas of Asia. Similar dishes in other tombs was thought to have held Cannabis sativa, confirming a practice described by Herodotus but after tests the mixture was found to be coriander seeds, probably used to disguise the smell of the body.

Two years after the discovery of the "Ice Maiden" Dr. Polosmak's husband, Vyacheslav Molodin, found a frozen man, elaborately tattooed with an elk, with two long braids that reached to his waist, buried with his weapons.

Tattoo Machines

A tattoo machine is a hand-held device generally used to create a tattoo, a permanent marking of the skin with ink. 
A Custom Tattoo Machine
Modern tattoo machines use alternating electromagnetic coils to move a needle bar up and down, driving pigment into the skin. Tattoo artists generally use the word "machine", or even "iron", to refer to their equipment, while amateurs and collectors often use the term "gun".

How It Works

Basically the machine works similar to alternating current- charge causes magnets to pull downward on the bar, which disconnects the circuit and allows the upward force of the spring to pull the bar upward

Power is conducted by wires in two different directions: Through the coils to the adjustable contact screw, and through the frame to the contact spring, via the armature spring. 
The tattoo machine parts
Current, flowing between the contact screw and the contact spring, completes the circuit, causing: 
The electromagnetic coils to pull down on the armature bar, which causes: 
The needle bar to move down with it, the needles at the end of the needle bar penetrate the skin. 
With the circuit broken, the armature spring is free to exert its upward force again, causing the circuit to close with the contact made again.

The basic machine was invented by Thomas Edison and patented in the United States in 1876 U.S. Patent 196,747 , Stencil-Pens. It was originally intended to be used as an engraving device, but in 1891, Samuel O'Reilly discovered that Edison's machine could be modified and used to introduce ink into the skin, and later patented a tube and needle system to provide an ink reservoir.

U.S Government patent for tattoo machine 1876

The technology used to make modern tattoo machines has come a long way since Samuel O'Reilly's inovations. While O'Reilly's machine was based on the rotary technology of Edison's engraving device, modern tattoo machines use electromagnets. The first machine based on this technology was a single coil machine patented by Thomas Riley of London, just twenty days after O'Reilly filed the patent for his rotary machine. For his machine, Riley placed a modified door bell assembly in a brass box. The modern two coil configuration was patented by Alfred Charles South, also of London. Because it was so heavy, a spring was often attached to the top of the machine and the ceiling to take most of the weight off the operator's hand.

Most modern tattoo machines can control needle depth, speed, and force of application, which has allowed tattooing to become a very precise art form. Such advancements in precision have also produced a style of facial tattooing that has attained mainstream popularity in America called dermapigmentation, or "permanent cosmetics".

Cambodia Tattoos

Sak yant, (also called yantra tattooing), is a form of sacred tattooing practiced in Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia and Thailand. Sak yant are normally tattooed by Buddhist monks or Brahmin priests. The most famous temple in the present day for Yant tattooing is Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chaysri, Nakhon Pathom Province, Thailand.
Wat Bang Phra Temple in Cambodia
The Yantra designs that already existed in Hindu India were adapted by the Khmer as Buddhism arrived from neighbouring India.Records have shown that the tattoo dates back to Angkor times. Different masters have added to these designs through visions received in their meditations. Some Yant have been adapted from pre-Buddhist Shamanism and the belief in Animal Spirits that was to be found in the Southeast Asian sub-Continent and incorporated into the Thai Buddhist tradition.
The script used for Yant designs is ancient Khmer and Pali.

In Cambodia, the tattoo is used for self-protection. Cambodians believe a yantra has magical powers that ward off evil and hardship. The tattoo is particularly popular amongst military personnel. The tattoo supposedly guarantees that the person cannot receive any physical harm as long as they follow certain conditions. A person is supposed not supposed to talk to anyone for three days and three nights after receiving a yantra. Another alternative is to follow the five Buddhist precepts which are you cannot kill, steal, cheat, be intoxicated by alcohol or lust over women.

Yant designs are also applied to many other mediums, such as cloth or metal, and placed in one's house, place of worship, or vehicle as a means of protection from all kinds of dangers, or against illness, to increase wealth or attract lovers etc.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Philippino Tribal Tattoos

Philippino Tribal Tattoos

In traditional terms, the Philippines consist of three main island groups - Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are steeped in tattooing traditions, many of which have been supressed throughout the past by invading countries and empires.
'The Painted Prince' Giolo, brought to London in September 1691
 The men of Visayas wore such intricate and extensive tattoos that early Spanish explorers called their part of the Philippines 'La Isla De Los Pintados' - meaning the island of the painted ones. The term 'Patik' means tattoo.

Traditional Tattoo Methods

The traditional tattoo methods of the Philippines are said to differ slightly between the groups of the various regions - the Philippines being made up of over 7000 islands. All the methods involve the subject's skin being smeared with a mixture of soot and sugar cane juice, and if these aren't available, substances such as lard or hen's dung can be used. The skin is rapidly perforated by the tattooing instrument, which consists of either sharp metal points as used by the 'Pintados', or sharpened wooden teeth, as used by the Kankanay tribe. The Isneg tribe from the Apayao Province use a curved piece of rattan with four or five pins attached to the end. The curve near the pins is then beaten rapidly by the tattooists while the pins are on the skin, forcing them deep into the subject's skin.


The traditional tattoo revival underway in the Philippines has lead to a renewed interest in the earliest folklore and mythology behind the Philippino tattooing arts. One Philippino tattoo myth bears a lot of similarities with the tribes of Borneo, - it says that a bird fell into a bowl of ink, and, in panic started to fly around desperately, and flew into a warrior, and as it furiously pecked at the warrior, the ink penetrated his skin, and the first tattoo was born.

Tattoo Meanings

As with other tribal tattooing histories, Philippino tattoos were used on men to show tribal seniority, accomplishments, age, and power, as well as acting as talismans in certain cases. For instance, although the lizard denotes death, as it was said to be the messenger of death, lizard tattoos would actually be worn as protection, as it was felt that other spirits, seeing the lizard tattoo, would leave the warrior alone as they would be tricked into believing the message of death had already been delivered. Women would wear tattoos to enhance their beauty, and would limit the placing of their tattoos to hands and feet usually, although there were exceptions. The idea of connetcing with ancestors runs through Philippino tattooing traditions, meaning that awareness of family, past, and oral teachings was very important.


The desings vary among the different Philippino traditions, from the extremely elaborate and complicated etchings of the Visayas, to the Luzon's intricate patterns comprised of curved and straight lines inked in Indigo blue. The designs worn were indicators of blood lines, and ancestors as well as achievements and changes, so designs would have been tailored to the individual, although there were tattoos with specific meanings.

The Philippines now - some facts and a brief modern history ...

The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas), officially the Republic of the Philippines (Republika ng Pilipinas;RP), is an archipelagic nation located in Southeast Asia, with Manila as its capital city. The Philippine archipelago comprises 7,107 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, bordering countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Palau and the Republic of China, although it is the only Southeast Asian country to share no land borders with its neighbors. The Philippines is the world's 12th most populous country with a population approaching 90 million people. Its national economy is the 47th largest in the world with a 2006 gross domestic product (GDP) of over US$117.562 billion. There are more than 11 million overseas Filipinos worldwide, about 11% of the total population of the Philippines.

The Philippines was formerly a Spanish then an American colony. The Philippine Revolution was an attempt to gain independence from Spain, and later from the U.S. in the Philippine-American War. The Philippines ultimately gained its independence from the United States on July 4, 1946 after the Pacific War (the Second World War) via the Treaty of Manila. The Philippines then became a fledgling democracy until the authoritarian rule of Ferdinand Marcos led to his overthrow in the People Power Revolution of 1986. Political upheavals alternated with peaceful transition of power on the period that followed.

Today, the Philippines has many affinities with the Western world, derived mainly from the cultures of Spain, Latin America, and the United States. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, although pre-Hispanic indigenous religious practices still exist. There are also followers of Islam. Spanish was an official language of the Philippines until 1973. Today the two official languages are Filipino and English.

Tattoo History

Ancient Marquesan Tattoo
Tattooing has been a Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times. Otzi the Iceman, dating from the fourth to fifth millennium BCE, was found in the Ötz valley in the Alps and had approximately 57 carbon tattoos consisting of simple dots and lines on his lower spine, behind his left knee, and on his right ankle. Other mummies bearing tattoos and dating from the end of the second millennium BCE have been discovered atPazyryk on the Ukok Plateau. Japanese tattoos are thought to go back to the Paleolithic era, some ten thousand years ago. Various other cultures have had their own tattoo traditions, ranging from rubbing cuts and other wounds with ashes, to hand-pricking the skin to insert dyes.

Tattooing has been practiced worldwide. The Ainu people, the indigenous people of Japan, wore facial tattoos, as do some Maori of New Zealand to this day. Tattooing was widespread among Polynesian peoples and among certain tribal groups in the Philippines,BorneoMentawai IslandsAfrica, North America, South America, Mesoamerica, Europe, Japan,CambodiaNew ZealandSamoa and China.

Irezumi - Japanese Tattooing

Irezumi - Japanese Tattooing

The Japanese language the Japanese word irezumi (入れ墨, 入墨, 紋身, 刺花, 剳青, 黥 or 刺青) refers to the insertion of ink under the skin to leave a permanent, usually decorative mark, in other words,tattooing.
Traditional Japanese Tattoo on Woman
The word can be written in several ways, each with slightly different connotations. The most common way of writing irezumi is with the Chinese characters 入れ墨 or 入墨, literally meaning to "insert ink." The characters 紋身 (also pronounced bunshin) suggest "decorating the body." 剳青 is more esoteric, being written with the characters for "stay" or "remain" and "blue" or "green," and probably refers to the appearance of the main shading ink under the skin. 黥 (meaning "tattooing") is rarely used, and the characters 刺青 combine the meanings "pierce," "stab," or "***," and "blue" or "green," referring to the Japanese Traditional methods of tattooing by hand.

History of Japanese tattoos

Tattooing for spiritual and decorative purposes in Japan is thought to extend back to at least the Jōmon or paleolithic period (approximately 10000 BC). Some scholars have suggested that the distinctive cord-marked patterns observed on the faces and bodies of figures dated to that period represent tattoos, but this claim is by no means unanimous. There are similarities, however, between such markings and the tattoo traditions observed in other contemporaneous cultures.

In the following Yayoi period (C. 300BC – 300 AD) tattoo designs were observed and remarked upon by Chinese visitors. Such designs were thought to have spiritual significance as well as functioning as a status symbol.

Starting in the Kofun period (300-600 AD) tattoos began to assume negative connotations. Instead of being used for ritual or status purposes, tattooed marks began to be placed on criminals as a punishment (this was mirrored in ancient Rome, where slaves were known to have been tattooed with mottos such as "I am a slave who has run away from his master").

Often, these tattoos are used to represent a desired or possessed characteristic such as wealth and bravery. 

Ainu tattoos

The Ainu people, the indigenous people of Japan, are known to have used tattoos for decorative and social purposes. There is no known relation to the development of Irezumi.

Japanese tattoos in the Edo period

Traditional Japanese Tattoo

Until the Edo period (1600-1868 AD) the role of tattoos in Japanese society fluctuated. Tattooed marks were still used as punishment, but minor fads for decorative tattoos -- some featuring designs that would be completed only when lovers' hands were joined -- also came and went. It was in the Edo period, however, that Japanese decorative tattooing began to develop into the advanced art form it is known as today.

The impetus for the development of the art were the development of the art of woodblock printing and the release of the popular Chinese novel Water Margin|Suikoden, a tale of rebel courage and manly bravery illustrated with lavish woodblock prints showing men in heroic scenes, their bodies decorated with chinese dragon|dragons and other mythical beasts, flowers, ferocious tigers and religious images. The novel was an immediate success, and demand for the type of tattoos seen in its illustrations was simultaneous.

Woodblock artists began tattooing.[Reference is necessary. Never heard of this] They used many of the same tools for imprinting designs in human flesh as they did to create their woodblock prints, including chisels, gouges and, most importantly, unique ink known as '''Nara ink,''' or '''Nara black,''' the ink that famously turns blue-green under the skin.

There is academic debate over who wore these elaborate tattoos. Some scholars say that it was the lower classes who wore -- and flaunted -- such tattoos. Others claim that wealthy merchants, barred by law from flaunting their wealth, wore expensive irezumi under their clothes. It is known for certain that irezumi became associated with firemen, dashing figures of bravery and roguish sex-appeal who wore them as a form of spiritual protection (and, no doubt, for their beauty as well).

Tattoos in modern Japan

At the beginning of the Meiji period the Japanese government, wanting to protect its image and make a good impression on the West, outlawed tattoos, and irezumi took on connotations of criminality. Nevertheless, fascinated foreigners went to Japan seeking the skills of tattoo artists, and traditional tattooing continued underground. 

Tattooing was legalized by the Occupation of Japan|occupation forces in 1945, but has retained its image of criminality. For many years, traditional Japanese tattoos were associated with the yakuza, Japan's notorious mafia, and many businesses in Japan (such as public baths, fitness centers and hot springs) still ban customers with tattoos.

Tattooing and other forms of body decoration and body modification, as in much of the western world, are gaining in popularity in Japan. However, Japanese young people who choose to get tattooed are most often choosing "one point" designs -- small designs that can be completed in one sitting -- usually in the American or tribal tattoos styles. More recently, however sanskrit Siddham script tattoos are becoming more and more fashionable.

Traditional irezumi is still done by specialist tattooists, but it is painful, time-consuming and expensive: typical traditional body suits (tattoos covering the arms, back, upper legs and chest, but leaving an untattooed space down the center of the body) can take one to five years of weekly visits to complete and cost in excess of US$30,000.

The making of a Japanese tattoo

The prospective tattooee must first find a traditional tattoo artist. This in itself can be a daunting task (though it has been made easier by advent of the Internet) because such artists are often surprisingly secretive, and introductions are frequently made by word of mouth only. 

A traditional tattoo artist trains for many years under a master. He (for they are nearly exclusively male) will sometimes live in the master's house. He may spend years cleaning the studio, observing, practicing on his own flesh, making the tattoo needles and other tools required, mixing tattoo inks, and painstakingly copying designs from the master's book before he is allowed to tattoo clients. He must master all the intricate skills -- unique styles of shading, the techniques used for tattooing by hand -- required to create the tattoos his clients will request. He will usually be given a tattoo name by his master, most often incorporating the word "hori" (to engrave) and a syllable derived from the master's own name or some other significant word. In some cases, the apprentice will take the master's name, and will become The Second or Third (and so on).

After an initial consultation during which the client will discuss with the tattooist the designs he (again, clients are most frequently male; though women do wear traditional irezumi, they are most often the wives or girlfriends of tattoo artists) is interested in, and work begins with the tattooing of the outlines. This will usually be done in one sitting, often freehand (without the use of stencils), which may require several hours to complete. When the outline is complete, the shadingandcolouring is done in weekly visits, whenever the client has money to spare. When the tattoo is finished, the artist will "sign" his name in a space reserved for that purpose, most often somewhere on the back.

Wearers of traditional tattoos can often afford little else. They frequently keep their art secret, as tattoos are still seen as a sign of criminality in Japan, particularly by older people and in the work place. Ironically, many yakuza and other criminals themselves avoid tattoos for this very reason.

Glossary of Japanese tattoo terms

*Irezumi (入れ墨, 入墨, 文身 (also pronounced bunshin), 剳青, 黥 or 刺青) -- tattoo (noun or verb)
*Horimono (彫り物, 彫物, literally carving, engraving) -- tattoo. This is another word for traditional Japanese tattoos.
*Horishi (彫り師, 彫物師) -- a tattoo artist.
*Bokukei, bokkei (墨刑) -- punishment by tattooing.
*Tebori (手彫り, literally to carve by hand) -- describes the technique of tattooing by hand.
*Hanebori (羽彫り, literally to carve with a feather) -- a hand-tattooing technique employing a feathering motion.
*Tsuki-bori (突き彫り) -- a hand-tattooing technique employing a thrusting motion.
*Kakushibori (隠し彫り, literally hidden carving) -- tattooing near the armpits, the inside of the thighs and other "hidden" body areas. Also refers to the tattooing of hidden words, for example among the petals of flowers.
*Kebori (毛彫り) -- the tattooing of fine lines or of hair on tattooed figures.
*Sujibori (筋彫り) -- outlining, the outline of a tattoo.
*Shakki -- the sound needles make when they puncture the skin.
*Irebokuro -- from ire or ireru, which means to insert, and bokuro or hokuro, a beauty spot
*Yobori -- "Yo" (European) tattooing. The Japanese-English slang term for tattooing done with the Machine.
*Sumi -- The ink used to tattoo, traditionally mixed by the apprentice
*Hikae -- Chest panel tattoo
*Nagasode -- Arm tattoo, to the wrist
*Shichibu -- Tattoo 7/10ths of the sleeve to the forearm
*Gobu -- Tattoo 5/10ths of the sleeve to above the elbow
Body Piercing has been around for centuries, and is even mentioned in biblical times. It's practice has served many social functions, including spirituality, social hierarchy, fashion, religion, non-conformism, and eroticism, among many others. Modern day piercing culture draws its appeal from all these functions, and many others, and piercing devotees have found new ways to express their love of the art-form, bringing new ideas and methods to traditional piercing styles, and re-vitalising the culture across the globe.                                                                                              

Types of Piercings

Piercings on the head and face

Monroe Piercing (Healing time - 6-12 weeks)
Monroe Piercings (also known as a 'Madonna' or 'Crawford') are placed off-center, above the upper lip, and are designed to resemble a beauty spot, inspired by the classic look of the stars it's named after. Although more favoured by women, this piercing is seen increasingly on men, and is typically fitted with a 12, 16 or 18 gauge labret, the bars of which are usually shortened after healing. A variation on this piercing is the Crayfish piercing - a double version of a Monroe piercing with piercings worn on both sides of the upper lip.
Bridge Piercing (Healing time - 2-3 months)
Bridge Piercings go through the small flap of skin at the top of the nose, between the eyes, and never pass through the bone. Curved or straight barbells are the most commonly used in this piercing, though some people have CBs or seamless rings. Unfortunately, this type of piercing does carry with it a high risk of rejection, and scarring can occur if an infection does occur and is not dealt with swiftly, having said that, this type of nose piercing is enjoyed by many around the world without any problems.
Cheek Piercing (Healing time - 3–6 months)
Cheek piercings are usually performed by piercing through the cheek into the oral cavity at the point where dimples would naturally occur, although microdermal implants are increasingly used as full piercings are more prone to scarring and also can lead to lymph fluid secretion can be unpleasant and require maintenance. Also nicknamed the "Sedgwick" after Edie Sedgwick's mole on her cheek, 1.6mm flat backed labret studs are the most common jewellery of choice for this piercing.

Ear Cartilage Piercing (Healing time - 6-12 months)
Daith piercings, Conch piercings, Helix Piercings, Top ear piercings, Rook piercings, Snug piercings, Tragus piercings, and Anti-tragus piercings are all piercings of the ear cartiladge, and are some of the most popular piercings seen in modern times. types of jewellery used varies, and custmisation among the piercing community leads to beautifully personalised combinations.
Ear Lobe Piercing (Healing time - 6-8 weeks)

Ear lobe piercings are extremely common, but the jewellery worn, and methods of piercing have a far greater range than ever before - the use of flesh tunnels now rivals the classical ear piercing styles and jewellery, and the art of lobe jewellery is still as innovative and popular as ever.
Eyebrow Piercing (Healing time - 6-8 weeks)
Eyebrow piercings are relatively common, and can be performed anywhere along the eyebrow, although vetical piercings are most often used. Because they are not easily irritated, this type of piercing is one of the safest facial piercings, and barbells, curved barbells andcaptive bead rings are the commonly used type of jewellery.
Lip Piercings / Labret Piercings (Healing time - 3–4 weeks)

Taken from the Latin word 'Labrum' meaning 'lip', Labret Piercings usually sit below the bottom lip, and various combinations are possible, including the 'snakebite', and 'vertical labrets' - which are pierced through the top of the lower lip rather than in front of the lip tissue.
Nostril Piercing (Healing time - 2-3 months)
Nostril piercings are said to have originated in India, where traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine believes that this piercing will reduce the pain of child birth due to its location's association with female reproductive organs. Nowadays, nostril piercings are popular the world over, with men as well as women, and have been adopted by many Western social cultures.
Nasal Septum Piercing (Healing time - 2-3 months)
Septum piercings in the nose are also known as 'bull rings' due to the type of jewellery used and the effect achieved. The piercing generally runs through the gap between the cartiladge wall dividing the nostrils, and the bottom of the nose. Whilst increasingly popular, were also important to the Native American tribes.
Tongue Piercing (Healing time - 4-6 weeks)

Tongue piercings have their root in many ancient cultures - from the Aztecs, to the Mayans, to Aboriginal Australian holy men. The ready availability of high quality, surgical steel barbell style jewellery is associated with the emergence of this piercing in the 1980s, and straight barbell style jewellery is most often used for these piercings.
Frenulum Piercing (Healing time - 6-8 weeks)
Frenulum lip piercings are piercings through either the upper or lower lip frenulums. the upper frenulum piercing is also known as a 'scrumper' or 'smiley', whilst the lower frenulum piercing is also known as a 'frowny'.

Nipple Piercings (Healing time - 3-6 months, although can take much longer)
Nipples can be pierced at any angle but are usually pierced horizontally or, less often, vertically. It is also possible to place multiple piercings on top of one another. Both male and female nipple piercings have a long history, and nipple piercings are still popular today with both sexes, although more common in women than men. Some people have noted that they can take up to a year and a half to fully heal, and it's recommended that if stretching a nipple piercing, the piercee waits at least the healing time of their piercings between stretches.

Navel Piercings (Healing Time - 4-6 months)
Popular the world over, navel piercings, or 'belly piercings' are most often seen on women, and it's actually the upper rim of the naval which is usually pierced. Historically, the female navel has long been a point of adornment with jewellery and design, and the modern day navel piercing is accompanied by a wide and beautiful variety of body jewellery. Healing can vary with navel piercings - some heal as quickly as an ear lobe piercing while others face the more complicated healing process associated with other surface piercings.
Hand Web, Nape, Surface Piercings
Surface Piercings such as nape piercings, hip piercings, corset piercings, neck piercings, vertical tragus piercings, madison piercings & hand web piercings are piercings where the the piercing channel follows through a flap of skin rather than being from one side of the skin tissue and out of the other side as happens with other piercings. Microdermal anchors are also used to anchor the surface piercing into the pircee's skin without having to create an exit channel.

Genital piercings

Genital piercings have a long history, and their uses range from the ceremonial and the erotic, to the purely decorational. They remain popular with both men and women, and new piercings have added to the list of genital piercings available to both sexes.