Piercing Positions: What Different Piercings May Represent Historically

Author: Admin   Date Posted:23 June 2019 

There is nothing contemporary or modern about body piercing. Body piercings have been around for a long time and have really picked up as of late. This is not just so in Straya but pretty much the world over!

You’ve got blokes and sheilas with the odd ear, septum or nipple ring and others with their faces and bodies’ chockers full with jewellery. Though piercings today may have certain representations such as freedom, self expression and a statement of rebellion, did they mean anything in the past? Yes they did!

What Piercings Represented back in the Day

What a particular piercing or piercing placement represented back in the day varied by location or culture. We’re can’t testify to the massive numbers of cultures globally and what piercings meant to them. What we will do is elaborate on the cultures whose piercing connotations were certain of. Here they are.

Status Symbols

Mesoamerica consists of much of the area that makes up South America today. Native civilizations from this region were known to associate piercings with societal status as well as military respect. The Olmec tribe for instance would pierce the cheeks of male members of society. The piercings were then expanded gradually until they were large enough to hold bulky plugs.

The Aztecs, another historical native tribe, however, were a little more meticulous. For them, it was not piercings alone that mattered. They took into account position and even the material the jewellery was made of. Lip and ear piercings as well as nose rings and plugs were often worn by natives. The difference here was; where nobility wore jewellery made of precious metals and stones, commonfolk had to make do with less pricey materials.

Military leaders and soldiers also received lip piercings as signs of accomplishment.

Chastity Devices

Hilarious you think? Not quite! Quite painfully to be honest and unnerving enough for us to warn those of you who are squeamish that what comes ahead may be a little graphic.

The ancient Romans were patrons of art, philosophy and sport among other things. Performance was also a priority as was keeping the lower strata of society (where most of the athletes and artists were from) under check.

The Romans would use piercings as chastity devices for men. This would work by joining the foreskin on either end of the penis and piercing it shut.

For athletes this would serve the purpose of keeping their penises partly hidden during athletic displays. For musicians, singers in particular, the fact that having sex or masturbating was rendered painful if not next to impossible was meant to improve their singing! More time to train those vocal cords maybe?

In any case, Roman genital piercings are probably not what you would want to go for today!

Symbols of Discrimination

Where the ancient Mesoamericans would use their piercing jewellery to signify clout, half way around the world (and decades later), in medieval Italy, things were quite the opposite.

Earrings and other ear piercings were reserved specifically for members of society that society did not really accept. This included bonded slaves, prostitutes and struggling immigrants.

Nothing at All!

Last but not least and arguably our favourite, we have pirates. Pirates have been known to wear earrings and even nose or septum rings for a long time. No one really knows what this was about or whether it even meant anything.

The given belief is that pirates interacted with other cultures during their travels. Many of whom conserved piercings to be a sign of respect or power. It is from such cultures that our seafaring friends adopted the trend and eventually began donning themselves because it looked good and they felt like! Kind of like us today!


Winding Down

As you can see, piercings in the past carried a lot more baggage than they do in this day and age! At the same time, if you want one of your piercings to represent something why not? Your body your rules! There’s no shortage of brilliant piercing jewellery available nor is there a dearth of body positions you can pick!

If you’re located in New Zealand or Straya; you can get all your body piercing jewellery including bars, nose rings, ear rings and more from our online shop so do drop by!

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