his website is the starting point for exploring the Body Art collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Here you can find out more about the objects on display in the Museum, about the themes of the displays, and about the people who made and used the objects.

All human societies have their traditions of body modification. At the simplest this may involve washing and oiling the skin, cutting hair, etc. At the most complex, this may involve shaping the head and cutting patterns deep into the skin. The displays at the Museum and this website are designed to illustrate some of the many ways in which people around the world have modified their bodies, and to offer some explanations for why they have done so.

The site is organised in the same way as the displays themselves. There are sections here on 'Temporary Arts', such as make-up and glitter, 'Permanent Arts', such as piercing and tattooing, and 'Lifecycle Arts', such as ornaments for marriage and mourning.

You will also find here a range of audio and video files featuring body artists and others illustrating and discussing body arts and related themes.

Some thing for every body: letting loose the Museum's cross-cultural collections of body arts and ornaments


© 2011 - The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, England