The art of piercing has been practiced by people all over the world since ancient times. Mummified bodies with piercings have been discovered, including the oldest mummified body discovered to date, the body is over 5300 years old and is that of Otzi the Iceman, which was found in an Austrian glacier. Otzi had an ear piercing with a diameter of 7-12 mm, as well as tattoos.
The piercing of lips and tongue has traditionally been found in African and American tribal cultures.
Nipple and genital puncture, dates back to ancient Rome and ancient India.
The ancient Romans believed strongly in the art of piercing, they used piercings to show strength and masculinity. In Roman culture, piercings were often worn as decorations, genital punctures were also common among gladiators.
The Egyptians adorned themselves with piercings, certain types of piercings were restricted and only the royal family was allowed to have them. Only the pharaoh was allowed to have his navel pierced, anyone who attempted this could have been executed.
Almost all Egyptians wore earrings to show their wealth and for aesthetic reasons.
When French trappers first discovered Native American tribes, they called them the “Nez Perce,” which means “pierced noses” in French.
Ancient tribes carried bones through their nostrils to create fear. When they go to war, this is the origin of septum piercing.
Lip Labret piercings are said to have originated in Central and South America where they became popular for purely aesthetic reasons. Lip plates were often used. The Aztecs and Maya had labrets of gold and jade.
Civilizations & cultures separated by extremely great distances came to experience a love for piercings, it’s a small world right?
The most popular types of piercings
The most common types of piercing have been nose and ear piercings, these are more historically documented and have been found on more grave goods than any other type of piercing.
Which piercings represented/represent
Piercings in the past have represented religious views, social status, marriage, rebellion, spiritual cleansing, fear, sexual pleasure and more.
Piercings are still used in similar ways today, gangs have used piercings to symbolize rank, and subcultures have been created based on aesthetics and whether someone has piercings or not.
There are several theories about the origin of the Prince Albert puncture, but the true origin is unknown.
Historical evidence suggests that the Prince Albert piercing was first performed by men in European countries from the 1800s. Most people believe that this piercing was not made for a cultural or sexual purpose, but for a more practical purpose, which is unknown is. There is no evidence that Prince Albert had any of these piercings, but it is a popular myth that people started getting Prince Albert piercings because Prince Albert is said to have this piercing.
Piercings in the Bible
Body piercings are mentioned in the Bible, body jewelry was considered a show of beauty and wealth and was often given as a wedding gift or as part of a dowry.
Interested in body piercings
Interest in the art of piercing died down during the Middle Ages, when the church began to condemn the art of piercing and accuse it of being sinful. (This explains why some who consider themselves religious still condemn the art of piercing to this day)
The most recent surge in the popularity of piercings was in the 1960s when it became popular for all women to have their ears pierced one more time.
This concludes how piercings came about thus far, and I may revise this a few more times as time goes on.
Thank you for reading.
I hope you now know how piercings came about.
Matthew Shaver is the author of this article. He owns and runs a blog about piercings, which he started after realizing that there wasn’t much clear information about piercings and what to do about it and what not to do.