National Geographic Photo Gallery: Tattoos, Piercings, and Other Body ArtPhotographer: Chris Rainer

Click to enlarge this photograph of a West African man. Scarification on his face indicates the village and clan that he belongs to. Man, Burkina Faso
For many men in West Africa, scarring is a form of tribal initiation and a sign of bravery. Done with razor blades, the painful process starts at puberty and continues into adulthood. Each tribe has distinctive tattoo designs; this man’s markings indicate his village and his clan and include black magic symbols to keep away evil spirits.

Click to Enlarge
Click to view photograph of a scarred man from Burkina Faso
Click to view a photograph of a tattooed man at the Burning Man Festival, Nevada. Click to see a photograph of tattooed Maori gang members, New Zealand Click to view a photograph of a tattooed yakuza gang member, Japan. Click to view a photograph of tattooed ''modern primitives'' in California. Click to view a photograph of tattooed twin Cuna Indians, Panama. Click to view a photograph of a tattooed Coptic Christian woman, Ethiopia. Click to view a photograph of a tattooed Maori Chief, New Zealand. Click to view a photograph of a Mursi woman with face markings and a lip plate in Ethiopia. Click to view a photograph of nude women with temporary tattoos bathing in Brazil. Click to view a photograph of a nude Samoan man with tribal tattooing.
Click here to learn about photographer Chris Rainier. Click here for a look at the book ''National Geographic Photographs: Then and Now.'' Click here for Web links on tattoos, piercings, and other body art Credits for National Geographic's tattoos, piercings, and body markings gallery