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Body Art vs. Self Mutilation
For centuries body art such as tattoos and piercings have been practiced all over the world in almost every culture. Both practices have different meanings and multiple levels from religious rites to pure decoration. Often times throughout the history of western culture, these practices have been shunned and outcast as the marks of Satan. In the last few centuries however, these fallacies have subsided to the thoughts of mere loathing of any permanent defacing of a person's body. It has been argued that body art is no more than just attention seeking self-mutilation, in which only heathens and criminals engage. These often painful practices usually marked a rite of passage or indicated an act of bravery and courage in warriors. The art of tattoos have existed for more than 5300 years, appearing on all continents that have been inhabited by human civilizations. Piercing, however, is the most ancient form of body art, existing since the ninth century B.C. in Iraqi cultures. The common functions of piercings throughout the world were religious ceremonies and enlightenment, to show social wealth and standings, beauty and fashion, sexual enhancement, and the marking of criminals and slaves. …
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