5 Techniques Involved in African Scarification background img
June 16, 2016

5 Techniques Involved in African Scarification

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Scarification, the act of making scars on the body, is a very common practice of the tribal people of Africa. Body scarification is an extreme body art technique that is done intentionally by carving out the flesh so it looks like these rare beauties after it’s healed. African Scarification began as a representative of tribal culture back in the 14th century and it is a very important cultural practice. Each social group in Africa, defines it’s own rules about scarification. These markings vary based on gender of the person, age and social ranking and by the time the infants reach their adulthood, they will have several sets of scars on their bodies each representing a different stage of life. These marks indicate a person’s rank and age in the society. For example, a woman’s eagerness to bear the pain of scarification process is an indication of emotional maturity and willingness to bear children.

Tribal Marks over a body look unique. But for the creation of the uniqueness, the African people bear a lot of pain. HookedUpon brings before you some of the tough procedures that the Africans actually went through and it still exists in tribal communities.

#1 Skin removal/skinning

Single lines are cut on the body that produce relatively thin scars, and to get a larger area of scar tissue, they do skin removal. The outlines of the area of skin to be removed will be measured and cut accordingly, and then the skin in that portion will be peeled away. Scars that result from this method often have an inconsistent texture. This African Body Art technique is a work of art in itself.

This method is traditionally being used in Africa. A cut is made and an inert material such as clay or ash is packed into the wound. Massive scars are formed during healing because of the wound pushes out the substance that had been inserted into the wound. Cigar ash is often used in the United States for having raised and purple scars. African Scarification is indeed a very painful task but people still do it for the sake of culture or for their identification to a particular tribe. As painful as this scarification can be, it is beautiful in its own way.

African Scarification - Packing

#3 Abrasion

This is the method of African Scarification where scars are formed by removing layers of skin through abrasion. This can be achieved by using any object that can remove skin through friction (such as sandpaper). The effects of these African Tattoos are typically similar to other, simpler forms of scarification.

African Scarification: Abrasion

#4 Strike branding

In strike branding method, a piece of metal is heated and pressed onto the skin for the brand. It is one of the most common Scarification Techniques used in Africa. Historically it was used to claim ownership of slaves or to punish criminals, but as a form of body art, strike branding can only be done on parts of the body that are not curved. More successful is the multi-strike brand; it is done piece-by-piece rather than all at once. For example, to get a V-shaped brand, two lines would be burned separately by a straight piece of metal, rather than by a V-shaped piece of metal.

#5 Hatching

This method is used when a larger area is required to be scarred. Then the cut is made with a hatching technique similar to the sketching technique. This method is an easier one as it can be done using one hand. It is a very unique way of African Scarification.

African Scarification: Hatching

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