Bodily Marks

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BODILY MARKS . The human body is constantly altered by natural and cultural processes. These alterations leave visible traces, which in many societies are associated with religious ideas, beliefs, and forces. Biological growth itself leaves marks on the body. Adolescence brings changes in physical structure to members of both sexes. Aging alters the coloring and density of body hair. Firm flesh wrinkles; teeth drop out. Furthermore accidents at work and play mar, scar, mutilate, and deform the body. Such biological and accidental changes may in many cultures be evidence of the operation of invisible beings or powers, such as deities, ancestors, or witchcraft. Or compensatory, supernormal powers may be attributed to the lame, to the malformed, to the blind, and to albinos. Just as certain kinds of diviners may read hidden meanings in such natural phenomena as the flight of birds or the spoor of foxes in sand, so too may the will of invisible entities be read into the natural marks left on the body by growth, illness, and violent mishap.

But nature lags far behind culture in the use of the body as a "canvas," as manipulable material for the expression of meaning. Clothing, headgear, ornaments, and regalia are of course salient agencies for the situational communication of personal and social identity, religious and secular values, and social status. Masks too have similar functions. Such external coverings indicate cultural transformations, particularly those of a transitory and repeatable character. It must be stressed, however, that in ritual settings in many cultures the same concepts and beliefs may be expressed by the marking of the body and by its clothing and masking. Ritual enlists many sensory codes, nonverbal and verbal, and orchestrates them to convey many-layered messages about the meaning of the human condition.

Bodily marking proper may be divided into two main types. The first, permanent marking, involves surgical or quasi-surgical operations on the surface of the body by means of cutting or piercing instruments, such as knives, needles, or razors. The general purpose here is to leave indelible marks on the body, mute messages of irreversible status change, permanent cultural identity, or corporate affiliation. The second category, temporary marking, includes the application to the body of decorations through such media as chalk, charcoal, paint, or other substances that can readily be washed or dusted off. In a sense such bodily marks are less durable than clothing, but when they are used in ritual contexts, they may convey more tellingly important aspects of the cosmological order.

Radical alteration of the genitalia is common to many cultures. It should be noted, however, that such operations, both in preindustrial societies and among adherents of some of the major historical religions, take place in a religious context, often to mark an important stage of the patient's life cycle. Symbolic action reinforces the surgical message that the patient, also an initiate, is undergoing an irreversible change in status and mode of being as culturally defined. Religious as well as cultural definitions and evaluationsgender, age, social segmentation, and cultic, tribal, and national affiliationare given permanent expression precisely in the surgical refashioning of those bodily parts through which the very existence of the patient's group is genetically transmitted.

Many authorities hold that, generally speaking, tattooing has flourished most among relatively light-skinned peoples, whereas scarification and cicatrization are mostly found among dark-skinned peoples because raised scars and keloids are more easily seen as pattern elements than the darker pigments. In contrast to body painting, however, all forms of piercing, cutting, or cauterizing the body involve contact with nerve endings resulting in pain, hence their not infrequent association with initiatory ordeals, in which respect they find common ground with such practices as genital excision, scourging, and knocking out teeth. Neuroscience may someday discover the precise effects on the central nervous system and on such concomitant psychological functions as memory and sexuality that are produced by these often prolonged operations on the subcutaneous neuronic network.

With the spread of Western culture, many societies that formerly practiced surgical bodily marking in religious contexts have abandoned these customs. Certainly the three major religions "of the book"Judaism, Christianity, and Islamhave interdicted tattooing since early times. Body marking was forbidden to Jews by God in the Torah (Lv. 19:28; Dt. 14:1). In 787 ce a Roman Catholic council forbade tattooing. Tattooing was also forbidden by Muammad. Nevertheless tattooing has been frequently practiced, for therapeutic or decorative reasons, by nominal adherents of these three religions: for example, by Bosnian Catholics, where it may be a survival of an ancient puberty rite (reported by Mary Durham, 1928, pp. 104106), by Muslims in the Middle East (exhaustively discussed in Henry Field, 1958), and (rarely) among Middle Eastern and North African Jews.


European explorers during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries were struck by the marks they found on the bodies of the peoples they encountered in hitherto unknown lands. Captain John Smith in Virginia and Captain James Cook in Polynesia (who coined the term tattoo from the Tahitian word tattau, meaning "to mark") were struck by this form of body marking "by inlaying the Colour Black under their skins in such a manner as to be indelible" (Cook, 1893, p. 93). European explorers found tattooing in general practice among the Maori of New Zealand and most other Polynesian islands. The custom was also common throughout New Guinea, Melanesia, Micronesia, the Malay Archipelago, and the Malay Peninsula. On mainland Asia certain peoples of India, Burma, and the fringes of Tibet employed tattooing. Some African groups, including the Nama Khoi, also practiced the art. Tattooing was relatively frequent among North and South American Indians.

Tattooing resembles painting, with the face and body as canvas, while scarification resembles sculpture or woodcarving. Both processes can be painful, but tattooing seems to be less so than scarification, though a full design may take longer to apply. Perhaps the relative quickness of scarification and cicatrization is one of the reasons they figure so prominently in rites of passage and other religious and therapeutic rituals, because they literally mark a sharp contrast between the initiate's previous and subsequent state and status. Nevertheless if such rites include a lengthy period of seclusion from the mundane domain, the slower, more cumulative operation of tattooing may proceed at a more leisurely pace.

Full-body tattooing may take years to complete and may be accomplished in several ritually significant stages. Wilfrid D. Hambly (1925) reported, for example, that among the Motu Koita of New Guinea tattooing played a prominent role in rituals celebrating the physical development of the female body. At about five years old, the hands and forearms were tattooed. Between five and ten years of age, the chin, nose, lower abdomen, and inner thighs were tattooed as they lost their infantile appearance and grew firmer. At puberty, the breast, back, and buttocks were tattooed as they took on adult contours. During marital rites and then at motherhood, the final designs were placed. Each phase of maturation had its own design. Indeed the Motu believed that tattooing not only signified growing up but even helped to cause it (Hambly, 1925, p. 32).

In a religious context, as distinct from a purely decorative context, tattoo marks are clearly symbolic. Hambly, for example, showed how the tattooing of initiates in girls' puberty rituals among the Omaha of North America was originally associated with rites devoted to the sun, the dominant power in their universe. The Omaha deified day and night as the male and female cosmic powers, akin to the Chinese opposition of yang and yin. At the apogee of solar ritual, a nubile girl was the focus of ritual dances, painting, and tattooing. She was tattooed with a disk representing the sun and a star standing for night. Four points on the star signified the four life-giving winds. The two marks together expressed the message that night gives way to the sun, a presage of the girl's marriage. The tattoos were believed to confer life energy and potential fecundity on the developing woman during this liminal phase. If her tattoo sores did not heal quickly, this was thought to indicate the displeasure of spirits because she had been unchaste (Hambly, 1925, pp. 8384). This example illustrates how ritual tattooing inscribesor one might even say incarnatescosmological ideas and forces, leaving a permanent impress, both subjectively and objectively.

There is archaeological evidence for puncture tattooing in the Middle East at least as early as the second millennium bce. Puncture marks on mummy skins with duplicate signs painted on figurines have been found in Nubian burials from this period. Just as in preliterate societies, the polytheistic cultures of the eastern Mediterranean world saw tattooing as an efficacious means of communication between the invisible and visible domains, here regarded as divine and human. For example, the pharaoh Akhenaton (Amenhotep IV) is represented in reliefs as bearing the name Aton on his body. Although Akhenaton was reared in a polytheistic tradition, he tried to develop a solar monotheism and encouraged naturalistic art at the expense of symbolism. Hence his tattoo was a name, not a symbol. The great monotheistic religions went even further in forbidding the marking of symbols of deities on the body. Field (1958, p. 4) supplied further evidence of rapport between humans and deities effected by tattooing. The symbol of the goddess Neit, for example, was tattooed on the arms and legs of Libyan captives figured on the tomb walls of Seti I (13181304 bce). Even in modern North Africa a tattoo pattern called Triangle of Tanit has been identified as the symbol of the Carthaginian goddess Tanit, who was perhaps the Libyan goddess Ta-Neit taken over by the Carthaginians. Field also mentioned that the devotees of Dionysos were stamped with that god's symbol, the ivy leaf. In Syria-Palestine the worshipers of the moon goddess Mylitta were tattooed with her figure or symbol on their hands or the backs of their necks.

Subsequently, despite religious interdictions, both Christians and Muslims bore tattoos as evidences of pilgrimages to the sacred places. This practice apparently derived from the time of the Crusades. Coptic pilgrims were tattooed with the word Jerusalem with the date of the visit beneath it or a standardized religious emblem. Moses Maimonides (1135/81204), commenting on the prohibition against tattooing in Leviticus, reiterated the central Judaic argument against idolatry as its motive force, whereas other scholars in his tradition stressed the integrity of the human body made in the express image and likeness of God as justification for the ban.

In the cultural history of tattooing, certain main trends are discernible. In antiquity and in many of the reports of travelers in the early modern period, tattooing in preindustrial societies dominantly relates the tattooed person to a social group or category (totemic clan, age or sex category, secret society or warrior association, unmarried or married categories, the widowed, and the like). Sometimes the tattooing process is embedded in an encompassing ritual process. In other instances, as discussed, cumulative tattooing may operate independently from rites of passage, stressing individual development rather than collective affiliation. As societies increase in scale and grow more complex and the division of economic and social labor becomes more refined, tattooing becomes more a matter of individual choice and serves the purpose of self-expression, stressing the decorative rather than the religious and corporate functions. Instead of classing individuals together, homogenizing them symbolically, it now differentiates them. An antinomian character invests tattooing. As the technology of the art develops (for example, the invention of the electric tattooing needle), the designs and colors multiply, allowing considerable scope for self-expression and for making statements about the self not only to others but also to oneself, indelibly imprinting a complex image of one's identity upon one's body.

In societies where tattooing is strongly interdicted or frowned upon for religious or political reasons, tattooing comes to mark and identify not only recalcitrant individuals but also marginal groups that otherwise have few means to display identity in mainstream society. A considerable literature exists on tattooing among such diverse categories as enlisted men in World Wars I and II, criminals, prostitutes, homosexuals, juvenile delinquents, and motorcycle gangs such as the Hell's Angels.

In Japan, where the art of tattooing (irezumi ) has been long established and may have had, as in Polynesia, ritual connections, the practice fell under interdict in the late Tokugawa period, but it was strongly revived after 1881, when it ceased to be a penal offense. According to Robert Brain, the Japanesewho embroider the whole body with artistic designs, the equivalent of a suit of clothes to a culture that has never hallowed the nude"use tattooing to give personality to the naked body. Even the bare skin, incorporated into the overall design, acquires an appearance of artificiality" (Brain, 1979, p. 64). The designs are traditional and include the dragon, "giver of strength and sagacity," the horse and the carp (mutations of the dragon), epic heroes such as Yoshitsune, Chinese sages, and the gods whose deeds are recorded in the Kojiki and Nihongi (Nihonshoki ). In Japan it has often been difficult to distinguish, in Western style, the religious from the aesthetic and social. Contemporary tattooed men and women wear on their bodies subtle and beautiful expressions of a continuous tradition that links deity, nature, and humankind.

As tattooing became detached from its earlier religious contexts, it seems to have become increasingly associated with the magical protection of individuals and with curative rites performed in cases of individual affliction. Field (1958) provided innumerable examples of tattooing in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Baluchistan, and West Pakistan used as prophylaxis, cure, and subsequent prevention of a variety of diseases and ailments, mostly thought to be due to supernatural causes, such as the evil eye, witchcraft, or demons. Therapeutic tattooing is found in many cultures. For example, the Sarawak Kaya of Borneo believe that sickness is caused by the soul leaving the body. A ritual therapist, the dayong, is called in to perform a ritual, including dancing and incantations, to recall the patient's soul to its body. After he is sure the soul is back, the dayong tattoos an emblem on the patient to keep it from straying again. Similar uses are found cross-culturally in abundance.

Mention should be made of the growth of tattooing in the United States, particularly in California during the late 1970s. After World War II the practice subsided, but because of the influence of the "counterculture" of the late sixties, the role of electronic media in bringing the practices of other cultures into the American home, extensive tourism, a general emphasis on individuality (in dress, sexual mores, art, and religion), and improvements in the techniques of professional tattooing, there has been a marked revival in the art. In the early twenty-first century tattoos along with body piercing became such an integral part of American popular culture that, for many youths, obtaining a tattoo became something of a rite of passage into adulthood. As such the ancient connection with religion has not been forgotten. In addition at the Fifth World Convention of Tattoo Artists and Fans, held in Sacramento, California, in 1980, the prize tattoo was "a large back mural, which included the Virgin of Guadalupe, set on a bed of bright roses, framed in the lower corners by a skull face and a human face, and in the upper, by flowing angels" (Govenar, 1981, p. 216).

Scarification and Cicatrization

Whereas tattooing is the insertion of pigment under the skin and involves pricking instruments ranging from thorns, fish spines, cactus spikes, shells, and bones to steel and electric needles, scarification and cicatrization are more drastic ways of marking the body. Many anthropologists equate these terms, but strictly speaking scarification is the operation of marking with scars, whereas cicatrization is the subsequent formation of a scar at the site of a healing wound, that is, the healing process. It might be useful to distinguish scarification, the production of long cuts, from cicatrization, the deliberate formation of keloids, sharply elevated, often round or oval scars due to the rich production of collagen in the dermal layer. David Livingstone, in his Last Journals of David Livingstone in Central Africa (1874), gave the classic definition of keloid formation when writing of the Makwa, who have double lines of keloids on the face: "After the incisions are made, charcoal is rubbed in, and the flesh pressed out, so that all the cuts are raised above the level of the surface" (Livingstone, 1874, vol. 1, p. 33). In many parts of sub-Saharan Africa cicatrization follows the work of two instruments: a hooked thorn to raise the skin and a small blade to slice it. The more the skin is raised, the more prominent the resulting keloid.

In many preindustrial societies the cicatrization process is embedded in a complex ritual sequence. In The Drums of Affliction (Victor Witter Turner, 1968) Edith Turner reported such a ritual sequence among the Ndembu of Zambia. During the seclusion phase of a girl's puberty ritual, the initiate is cicatrized by a woman skilled in the work. The girl is said to feel much pain while the incisions are made, but after the operation she is allowed to revile the operator in compensation, just as boys are permitted to swear at the circumciser during the corresponding male initiation rites. Groups of horizontal incisions converge on the navel from either side, like several sentences of braille. Other keloids are made beneath the navel toward the pubes and on the small of the back. Black wood ash mixed with castor oil is rubbed into the cuts. The raised cicatrices beside the navel constitute a kind of erotic braille and are "to catch a man" by giving him enhanced sexual pleasure when he plays his hand over them. Initiates who can stand the pain are also cicatrized on the mid-chest above the breast line. Two parallel cuts, known by a term signifying "to deny the lover," are made. The first keloid, to the left, represents the initiate's premarital lover, the second, to the right, her husband-to-be. The girl is told never to mention her lover's name to her husband, for the two men should "remain friends" and not fight each other.

Although tattooing, cicatrization, and scarification have much in common, may be combined in various ways, or may each be applied in different contexts in the same society, it may be broadly concluded that tattooing, like body painting, lends itself well to decorative use and personal art. The body becomes a canvas on or under the skin of which may be depicted naturalistic scenes and portraits, abstract designs, and symbolic patterns. Cutting and scarring flesh too may result in aesthetic effects of a quite sophisticated character but also constitutes a visible record of incarnate religious forces and a sacred chronicle of a culture's life-crisis ceremonies. Here the incised body itself proclaims carnally the disciplines involved in the cultural definition of its age, gender, and communal and structural identifications and alliances. In certain societies these marks are believed to be inscribed on the ghost or spirit after death, enabling the gods or spirits to recognize the membership and status of the deceased and to send him or her to an appropriate place of posthumous residence. It is interesting that the Roman Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity have sublimated similar beliefs, while condemning body marking itself, in the notion that sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and ordination confer indelible marks upon the soul.

Body Painting

Of the many languages of bodily adornment, several may coexist in a single culture. Terence S. Turner (1977) pointed out, for example, that the Chikrí, a Ge-speaking group in central Brazil, possess elaborate body painting, adorn themselves with earplugs, lip plugs, and penis sheaths, and put on cotton leg and arm bands in ritual contexts. Turner argued that such body adornments are a kind of symbolic language. Body painting is a code that expresses a wide range of information about social status, sex, and age. More than this, wrote Turner, it "establishes a channel of communication within the individual, between the social and biological aspects of his personality" (Terence S. Turner, 1977, p. 98).

Color symbolism is most important here, especially the colors red, black, and white, all of which are used in determinate ways. Red is always applied on bodily extremities, forearms and hands, lower legs and feet, and the face. Black is used on the trunk and the upper parts of the limbs as well as for square cheek patches and borders along the shaved areas of the forehead. Black face paintings, executed with great care, are often covered immediately by a heavy coat of red that renders them almost invisible. This practice may be explained by the symbolic values of the colors. Red, according to Turner, represents energy, health, and "quickness," both in the sense of swiftness and of heightened sensitivity. Black, per contra, is associated with transitions between clearly defined states or categories, with liminal conditions, or with regions where normal, precisely defined structures of ideas and behavioral rules are "blacked out." Black also means "dead" and is adjectivally applied to a zone of land outside the village, separating it from the wild forest, that is used for graveyards and seclusion camps for groups undergoing rites of passage. The Chikrí see death itself as a liminal phase between life and complete oblivion. Ghosts survive for one generation in the village of the dead before they "die" once more, this time forever. White represents the pure, terminal state of complete transcendence of the normal social world, for white is the color of ghosts, and white clay is the food of ghosts. The Chikrí paint over the black designs with red to make a symbolic statement, clearly uninfluenced by aesthetic considerations. According to Turner, the black designs represent the socialization of the intelligent part of the person, which is then energized by the biological and psychic life force represented by the thick red overpainting.

Turner's conclusion that body painting at this general level of meaning "really amounts to the imposition of a second, social 'skin' on the naked biological skin of the individual" (Terence S. Turner, 1977, p. 100) has a wide cross-cultural range of applications. The etymological link between cosmos and cosmetics has often been noted; both derive from the Greek term meaning "order, ornament, universe." When the face and body are painted with designs and colors, the cosmeticized ones are living links between the individual and the sociocultural order with which he or she is temporarily identified. But as with tattooing, in complex industrial societies body painting may assume an antinomian function; bizarre and extravagant designs may betoken rebellion against a society's most cherished values. Or it may become merely an expression of personal vanity and love of adornment.

Marks of Supernatural Election

A considerable literature exists on bodily marks that are believed to be signs of election to high religious status. These must be distinguished from blemishes or birthmarks taken to be indications of reincarnation. In many sub-Saharan societies, for example, recently born infants are carefully inspected for marks corresponding to conspicuous scars and moles found on some deceased relative. Among the Ndembu of Zambia, a child was called Lupinda because marks resembling scratches on his thigh were similar to the scar marks of a leopard-inflicted wound on the thigh of his mother's brother, the great hunter Lupinda. It was expected that the boy, Lupinda reborn, would likewise excel at the chase. Similar beliefs have been reported among the Haida and Tlingit of northwestern North America.

In the great historical religions founders, prophets, saints, and notable teachers of the faith are sometimes associated with supernaturally generated bodily characteristics. For example, it is reported that when Siddhārtha Gautama, who became the Buddha, was born, his body bore the thirty-two auspicious marks (mahapu-rusa laksanani ) that indicated his future greatness besides secondary marks (anuvyañjanani ). The Indian poet Aśvaghoa, who wrote his Buddhacarita (Life of the Buddha) in the second century ce, mentioned some of these marks: the sign of a wheel on one foot, webbing between his fingers and toes, and a circle of hair between his eyebrows. In Islam too there is a tradition of a person bearing bodily marks signifying divine election. Muammad's son-in-law ʿAli predicted that the Mahdi, the "divinely guided one," would come to restore justice and righteousness to the world and that he would be recognized by certain bodily traits, among them a balding forehead and a high, hooked nose. A birthmark on his right cheek, a gap between his front teeth, and a deep black beard were also predicted. Muammad Amad, who was believed to be the Mahdi by many living in the Sudan during the nineteenth century, was said to have all the looked-for attributes.

Christianity also has its tradition of bodily marks divinely imposed. For Christians the term stigmata refers to wounds some people bear on the hands and feet and occasionally on the side, shoulder, or back that are believed to be visible signs of participation in Christ's passion. Francis of Assisi (1181/21226) is said to have been the first stigmatic. Since his time the number has multiplied. Historically the stigmata have taken many different forms and have appeared in different positions on the body, hands, and feet of stigmatics. For example, Francis's side wound was on the right, while that of the celebrated modern stigmatic Padre Pio (18871968) was on the left. For the Catholic Church stigmata do not by themselves indicate sanctity. Of the several hundred stigmatics listed since the thirteenth century, only sixty-one have been canonized or beatified. Herbert Thurston (1933), an authority on this phenomenon, was extremely reluctant to attribute stigmatization to a miracle. Other theologians are ready to await the verdict of neuroscientific research to settle the problem. Moreover C. Bernard Ruffin, a Lutheran minister, has pointed out that "for every genuine stigmatic, whether holy or hysterical, saintly or satanic, there are at least two whose wounds are self-inflicted" (Ruffin, 1982, p. 145).


In many societies birthmarks, blemishes, deformities, and other natural signs have been regarded as visible indicators of the permanent or transient presence of invisible, preternatural forces and influences, whether of a magical or religious character. They may be linked with notions of reincarnation, illness caused by spirits or witches, election to a priestly or shamanic role, or the marking of basic group identity. However, the deliberate shaping of the body as an artifact by cultural means is the most widely practiced marker of group identity, an identity that in the simpler societies is also religious identity. Here the body becomes a deliberately created badge of identity. Both permanent and temporary changes are made for this purpose. In addition to the means described above, one might cite tooth filing, piercing or otherwise changing the shape of ears, nose, tongue, and lips, and changes made in the body's extremities, such as hair, feet, fingers, and nails. Although discussion of clothing, the identifying medium for all kinds of religions in all cultures, is beyond the scope of this article, as is detailed discussion of the relationship between aesthetic and ritual bodily marking, it is clear that the body, whether clad or unclad, painted or unpainted, smooth or scarred, is never religiously neutral. It is always and everywhere a complex signifier of spirit, society, self, and cosmos.

See Also

Circumcision; Clitoridectomy; Clothing; Human Body; Masks; Nudity.


Brain, Robert. The Decorated Body. London, 1979. A readable cross-cultural description by an anthropologist of the decoration of the human body.

Caplan, Jane, ed. Written on the Body: The Tattoo in European and American History. Princeton, N.J., 2000. An excellent cultural history of the tattoo in Europe and North America from early Greek and Roman antiquity to contemporary Euro-America.

Cook, James. Captain Cook's Journal during His First Voyage Round the World, in H.M. Bark "Endeavour," 17681771. Edited by William J. L. Wharton. London, 1893.

DeMello, Margo. Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community. Durham, N.C., 2000. An ethnography of contemporary tattooing in the United States written by a female anthropologist who is also a member of the tattoo community.

Durham, Mary Edith. Some Tribal Origins, Laws, and Customs of the Balkans. London, 1928.

Field, Henry. Body-Marking in Southwestern Asia. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, vol. 45, no. 1. Cambridge, Mass., 1958.

Fisher, Angela. Africa Adorned. London, 1984. A beautiful collection of photographs cataloging the various forms of African body adornment, both temporary and permanent.

Gell, Alfred. Wrapping in Images: Tattooing in Polynesia. Oxford, 1993. A comparative analysis of tattooing in Polynesia based on a comprehensive survey of both written and visual documentary sources that attempts to demonstrate the role tattooing played in constructing a distinctively Polynesian type of social and political being.

Govenar, Alan B. "Culture in Transition: The Recent Growth of Tattooing in America." Anthropos 76 (1981): 216219.

Hambly, Wilfrid D. The History of Tattooing and Its Significance: With Some Account of Other Forms of Corporal Marking. London, 1925. Reprint, Detroit, 1974. Still the classic study on tattooing.

Livingstone, David. Last Journals of David Livingstone, in Central Africa, from 1865 to His Death. London, 1874.

Rubin, Arnold, ed. Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body. Los Angeles, 1988. A scholarly collection of ethnographic essays, photographs, and drawings that focus on the divergent ways human beings have used bodily marks to inscribe the human body with social and cultural meaning. It also contains an extensive bibliography on bodily marks categorized by geographical region, including Euro-America.

Ruffin, C. Bernard. Padre Pio: The True Story. Huntington, Ind., 1982. A critical, sober, essentially nonhagiographical account of the life of the best-known stigmatic of the twentieth century. The medical evidence about his stigma is thoroughly discussed.

Strathern, Andrew, and Marilyn Strathern. Self-Decoration in Mount Hagen. Toronto, 1971. A comprehensive account of body decoration and its meaning in a single society, that of Mount Hagen, New Guinea.

Thurston, Herbert. "The Problem of Stigmatization." Studies 22 (1933): 221232.

Turner, Terence S. "Cosmetics: The Language of Bodily Adornment." In Conformity and Conflict, 3d ed., edited by James P. Spradley and David W. McCurdy, pp. 91108. Boston, 1977. A seminal article on bodily adornment among the Chikrí of Brazil. The author deciphers the complex code underlying various modes of decoration to reveal their meaning and suggests that body decorations have similar functions in all societies.

Turner, Victor Witter. The Drums of Affliction. Oxford, 1968.

Victor Turner (1987)

Edith Turner (2005)

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