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"When Black Teeth Were Beautiful" - The History and Ethnography of Dental Modifications in Luzon, Phillipines
"When Black Teeth Were Beautiful" - The History and Ethnography of Dental Modifications in Luzon, Phillipines

Author(s): Thomas J. Zumbroich
Subject(s): History
Published by: Romanian Assoc. for the History of Religions & Inst. for the History of Religions, Romanian Academy

Summary/Abstract: Human teeth are an alternative, though far less obvious canvas than skin, upon which differences can be inscribed and read as a way of defining individual identity and cultural difference. Yet among the different forms of marking the body that were historically employed across Southeast Asia, dental ornamentations became the most universal device of this type (Reid 1988; Tayles 1996). Nonetheless they have rarely received the attention from anthropologists that tattoos or body paintings, visually more complex inscriptions on the body, have garnered. ‘When black teeth were beautiful during our time’ — was a lament heard from one of our old informants in the Cordillera mountains of northern Luzon, expressing regret that the ancient practice of adorning teeth had disappeared.

  • Issue Year: 10/2009
  • Issue No: 01
  • Page Range: 125-169
  • Page Count: 45
  • Language: English