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Decorated Skin

A World Survey of Body Art

ISBN: 9780500283288 (PB - E)

The decoration of the human body is one of the oldest art forms known to man. As primitive cave paintings show, its history dates back at least 10,000 years, and it has remained with us as a means of cultural expression. This volume presents some of the finest examples of body art of the past and present, taken from all over the globe. Ranging from Australian Aborigines and the Papuans of New Guinea, via the Americas and Africa to India and the Far East, it is a voyage of discovery ending in the present-day "civilized world" with its carnival ceremonies and its made-up clowns, mimes and dancers - the remnants of a tradition which is now re-emerging in the urban western world. Anthropologists, specializing in the various geographical areas, provide commentaries to accompany the pictures which document body painting, and also the wide variety of scarring and tattooing techniques found throughout the world. Two developments in the "civilized world" - anthropological research and tourism - have left their mark on tribal life and modified cultural traditions of the past; this book is not only a documentation of historical art forms, but also an illustration of subtle processes of change and new present-day forms of artistic expression.

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