|Vintage Tinted Photograph of an American Indian|
available to buy in different sizes at Native American Artwork
Lately I have been so very inspired by indigeneous people, and design inspired by different indigeneous people. I posted about Sami people a little while ago and about feathers and a dream catcher inspired by the native american indians. And the inspiration has sneaked in here and there, since I'm certainly not the only one who is into this at the moment.
I have also thought about how decorating ourselves and our environment is so built in to the human cultures. However simple the houses and clothings are, there are always decorations. Do you know any cultural or ethnic group who does not have their own way of decorating? I think "beauty" is not enough to describe what we want from a decoration, we want associations, symbolic meaning, memories, rituals...
|Sami family in Norway around 1900|
Detroit Publishing Co. Print no. 7123
|Photo from Kenya by Diego Arroyo|
can be bought as artprint here
|Karo man wearing body paint at dance performance by Jane Sweeney|
|Maasai woman photographed in 1979 by Adrian Lewis|
|Luritja man demonstrating method of attack with boomerang under cover of shield,|
central Australia, photographed by Herbert Basedow, 1920.
National Museum Austrailia.
|Ainu woman with lip tattoo around 1930, from Lars Krutaks book.|
Did you know that there is such a thing as a Tattoo Anthropologist? I do now, after finding Lars Krutak's website and the fascinating stories and pictures feautered there. This american anthropologist has also published the books The Tattooing Arts of Tribal Women and Kalinga Tattoo: Ancient and Modern Expressions of the Tribal, and produced and hosted Tattoo Hunter, a series of programs on Discovery Channel where Lars Krutak investigates ancient body modification rituals from around the world.
The photo above shows a woman from the Ainu people, the indigeneous people of Japan. The mouth tattoo was belived to repel evil spirits from entering the body through the mouth and it also assured the woman life after death in the place of her deceased ancestors. The mouth tattoo was added step by step as the girl grew, and a full mouth tattoo was a sign of maturity. Only women wore tattoos among the Ainu people, and only a woman could become a tattooists. Apart from around the mouth Ainu women also made tattoos on their arms. The last fully tattoed Ainu woman died in 1998, according to Lars Krutaks article.
|Lars Krutak with Gru, a heavily scarified Hamar man of southern Ethiopia.|
The life of the Kanigara tribe of Papua New Guinea is filled with rituals, small and great. One of the more significant is the inititiation cermonies for young men - the skin cutting ritual - held in the spirit house. One of the Kanigara men told Lars Krutak: "we see each razor cut as a crocodile tooth biting into your skin. And when you are done, you will feel like a big crocodile is lying on you!” After the cutting, the wounds are covered with mud. This will stanch the bleeding, but also infect the cuts. As a result the scars will be thick, and resemble crocodile skin.
|Kanigara man with scars in front of the spirit house.|
Photo: Lars Krutak
Ok, so this post went from beautiful inspiration to a little scary... so lets jump on to my Daily dose of quirkiness to lighten things up a little bit. Totally off the subject, just a fun, silly greeting card :-)
|Vintage Photo Card from Etsy shop artbyheather|