Body Art As Visual Language

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Body Art as Visual Language Communication is something used in every culture imaginable. Communication or language can even be traced back to before humans were around and used by animals. But why is it that language has become so important? It is a form of expressing ones thoughts so those around can apprehend what message is being sent. Body language, verbal language even symbols get the messages sent. But can an alteration to the human body by a way of communicating? Body art indeed gets the job done. People of all different cultures mark their bodies with signs of individuality, social status and cultural identity. In fact there is not one culture that does not pierce, tattoo, paint, or adorn their bodies in some way. (Marks of Identity) Enid Schildkrout believes body art is a visual language. She states that if the impulse to create is one of the defining signs of humanity, the body may very well have been the first canvas. Approximately 30,000 years ago and forward, men and women alike used tattoos to enhance and modify their skin. Egyptian mummies bear tattoos dating to 4200 BCE and the oldest known remains of a tattooed body comes to us from a Glacier in Italy and dates to the Bronze Age; 5,000 years ago. This man's arms, torso, and legs had images of various mythical creatures. It seems that body art has evolved alongside humankind's awareness of self, society, and spirituality. For some people, body art became a visual history. For others, it is a personal expression of uniqueness. Humans are tribal creatures, and tattoos provide a sense of belonging and connection to that their “tribe”. Body art practices have spanned the globe, evidencing themselves among the Greeks, Germans, Britons, and Romans. After the advent of Christianity, it was forbidden in Europe but persisted in the Middle East, Far East, and tribal cultures. The reason for the
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