Body Modification in Syria and Tanzania

I got this wonderful letter from Isabel (click the photos to enlarge) –

Hello ModBlog,

Thanks for all the great images and stories and for updating them so often. It’s always a fun place to visit.

In June 2000, my husband and I quit our jobs, put our stuff in storage, and traveled around for almost nine months. We started in Indonesia and came home (grudgingly) after South Africa. In the process we visited Syria and fell in love with the people and culture. So much in fact that our daughter’s middle name is Damascus. While there, we saw several older women with the traditional face and hand tattoos. This beautiful lady was selling vegetables in a market and was kind enough to let us take her photo. Unfortunately, the new generation seems to have left the practice behind and they’re either covered up or very Western looking.


The other two shots are from our visit to a Batonga village in Tanzania. They welcomed us, showed us how they milk their cows and we got a few pictures. After this visit we went to a small bushman settlement and the only body mod we saw was a young kid with scars from a leopard attack. But that doesn’t seem to really qualify — wasn’t voluntary.

batonga1-thumb.jpg batonga2-thumb.jpg

Hope you enjoy the pics as much as we love reliving the memories of all the beautiful people we met.


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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

22 thoughts on “Body Modification in Syria and Tanzania

  1. the first photo reminds me of the berber women i saw in morocco. i loved the tattoos but most were so faided, you didnt even realize they were there

  2. the paragraph at the top is interesting,how theyre trying to look more western,we’re almosting want to switch cultures
    the bottom right girl looks kinda surprised…
    i really like it,looks like theyve left there goggles on too long… =D

  3. Those facial scarifications are so striking! Especially the way they’ve healed more raised on the bottom right girl. Beautiful pictures :)

  4. this just makes the desire to travel increase 1,000,000 times!!!!!

    There is definitely a beautiful world out there, and stories like these are proof.

    Glad to hear isabel enjoyed her journey!

  5. I used to work in Kensington Market here in T.O and there was an Ethiopian food store next to it and one of the women who worked there had the most beautiful facial tattoos, she was fantastic and so sweet.

  6. That scar thing around the eyes is just plain beautiful.
    No, really.

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