Cheek Piercing in China


And finally, folks, here’s a great collection of Vegetarian Festival–esque photos from China’s Hainan Island of some ritual cheek piercing. Lots more, after the jump.

32 thoughts on “Cheek Piercing in China

  1. are these all healed? They all look fine…they just all have a hole in one of their cheeks. haha that’s amazing.

  2. Thats pretty gnarly. Crazy unhygienic by our standards, but entirely amazing nonetheless.

  3. My dad had a picture of this on his wall and when I was young I was really facinated with this, and still.. How do they do it?

  4. I just want to know how these heal up, ive seen videos with peircings that look like the exceed an inch…it seems highly unlikely itd heal up all the way.

  5. Amazing!!! That is an incredible set of pictures, especially the one with them all joined by one long skewer.

    The woman in the second photo from the top got a little carried away and sewed a childs hand to her head…

  6. The long lines of people with all of the same piece through their cheeks seems a bit unsanitary. Aside from that… AWESOME!

  7. The guy in the 2nd photo seems to have a scar, maybe because the process, isn’t it?

  8. A TV show from here had a full episode dedicated to this ritual the other day, it’s really awesome
    The holes are done in the moment with a sort of spike so they can make the hole and stretch it at the same time, then they put the bar or whatever (some people carried swords), and supposedly they don’t bleed because of the state of trance they’re in
    This is the origin of what we do, proof that we’re not crazy people, just folks looking for a different type of connection through body modification
    Wish I can go there someday and maybe take part, I’m sure it must be a life-changing experience

  9. C’mon now, someone up there asked if these were healed. Jesus christ, that’s a bit stupid! Of course they’re not healed, they don’t leave them in permnanently, you can see scars from previous cheek piercing in some of the dudes.

  10. Props to -LEO-!
    I was expecting all the comments about lack of sterilization, etc.
    These pics are amazing and made my stupid day at work better.

  11. Way to be rude, Neurosis. :)
    It just didn’t make sense to me that there’s no blood what so ever.
    It was kind of a “what the hell??!!” question.

  12. my guess for the lack of blood would be because it was pierced then stretched up so far, that the blood is held back by the pressure of the skewer? seems logical to me anyways. or perhaps someone ran around and wiped their faces before the picture, you never know! and people have been doing far less sanitary things to their bodies for centuries, and their people have lived on…come on folks, it might not be ideal, but this isnt about healing a modern body piercing, its a ritual!

    intense photos :)

  13. When I did my cheek tug, i noticed only after that not a single ounce of my blood even dripped off my face until after the hooks were out.

  14. if you want to see more extremes of this sort of piercings, look at my Vegetarian Festival Phuket pictures under Cultural Rituals on BME

  15. My best and most educated guess as to why these extremely large guage piercings aren’t causing the recipients to bleed out like stuffed pigs is because of the stretching that was probably done right away, causing some degree of back pressure…. That and the large object stuck in the hole….
    Like, for instance, if a person is stabbed with, say… A knife… The chances of surviving are much greater if the knife remains intact, as opposed to withdrawn….. It kinda just plugs the hole…. lol! Same deal, most likely…

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