Lips Piercings and the Options for Styles

by | Feb 21, 2014 | Jewelry

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Back in the ancient historic days, South American tribes and cultures would use a tembeta – a rod made from stone or metal – in their lower lips. These were the earliest known records of such practices and in modern times the lips piercing is still as popular. Piercing the lip or lips has become a popular method of artistic self-expression and there are many variants on the theme of lip piercing, inspired by a variety of sources, including Marilyn Monroe.

Types of Lip Piercing and Lip Piercing Jewelry

As stated, the Monroe piercing refers to the star’s beauty spot above her top lip – a small stud through a pierced hole in the skin and through to the mouth and set between the corner of the lip and the philtrum. Speaking of the philtrum, a Medusa piercing is a piercing through the philtrum and is usually pierced with a labret stud. The variation of this type of piercing is the jestrum, whereby the philtrum is pierced twice and the curved barbell slips through both holes, leaving both beads visible. A plain labret piercing is one which is completely opposite the philtrum on the underside of the lower lip, the labrum.

Cultural Piercings and Body Modifications

There is much evidence from archeological digs to illustrate that lip piercing jewelry and other body modifications have been around for millennia. Many African cultures have symbolic rituals and gestures designed around labrets – lips plates and lip discs. Around 8700 B.C Ethiopia and Sudan both developed the idea independently, along with Mesoamerica around 1500 B.C. and Coastal Ecuador around 500 B.C. The lower lip plate – an African concept – also tended to include the removal of two, possibly all four of the bottom front teeth.

Many cultures around the world used piercings and body art as a way of expressing individuality as well as tribal affiliation. In modern cultures piercings are more of a fashion statement and a gesture of artistic expression that anything tribal. However there are tribes in Africa that still hold to their own traditions of piercing and physical modifications and they will keep to them as long as the tribe or community exists. Many cultures stand by their traditions regardless of how humans move forward.

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