African Tribal Beauty

African Tribal Beauty

Would you ever choose to insert a metal plate in your lower lip to express yourself? Or cut patterns into your cheeks? People all around the world use body modifications as cultural self-beautification, for reasons that seem foreign to outsiders. Nowhere are these practices more deeply ingrained than in Africa, whose multiple tribes’ unique cultures, traditions, and body modifications symbolize this rich history. Just in Ethiopia, the Surma tribes use body modifications to define themselves as an individualistic group of people. Surma is a name given by the Ethiopian government to identify three different tribes: the Suri, the Mursi, and the Me’en. Body modification types define and identify members of distinct groups. Some modifications overlap between tribes, but each of the three tribes maintains its own stylistic flair. Body Paint One distinctive body decoration used by the Surma tribes is body painting. The people of the different Surma tribes use clay and other natural minerals to paint their bodies for various purposes. For example, the chief’s children paint their faces white in order to distinguish themselves from other children in the tribe, particularly if there are outsiders visiting the tribe’s village. Also, Surma warriors paint each other’s bodies during hunting season to appear intimidating. They also use body paint for tribal ceremonies and celebrations. Some members of these tribes even believe that the paint helps to protect against harm. Scarification Surma tribes in Omo, Ethiopia, use scarification to create beauty marks. Scarification is the process of creating permanent marks (scars) on one’s skin, usually by cutting or burning. The Suri tribe uses scarification on the face as well as...

Winter 2016

Winter 2016 Read Our Newest Issue Features Take a look at our latest feature-length travel stories. Step Into Disney Magic Read More Baltic Wonders Read More Call to Prayer Read More Wolf Tracking in Yellowstone Read More Getaways Whether for a weekend, a week, or a while, your next getaway awaits Getting Ready to Get X-treme Read More Sleeping in the Sky: The Dominican Tree House Village Read More Heceta Head Lighthouse Read More Cherry Blossom Festivals Read More Culture Explore the arts, traditions, and food of the world Remembering Through Art Read More Bollywood: An Expanding Art Read More Four Corners of the Kitchen: Mint Read More African Tribal Beauty Read More Field Notes Travel photos and stories and the people behind them Edge of the Ocean Read More Human Trafficking Read More Rising from Ruins Read More Abandoned Cities Read More Insider Learn from the experts to make the most of your trip #Wanderlust Read More TSA Trouble Read More Conversation Tips Read More Braving the Winter Chill Read More Happenings The events and destinations that connect the world Escapades Plan your next adventure’s freewheeling fun Letter from the Editor The latest musings from our...