Standards of female beauty in history: the exoticism of Australia, New Zealand, and Mesoamerica. The continuation of strange ways women beautifies and modify their bodies.
Aborigines of Australia
The indigenous people of Australia, who appeared on the continent about 40-60 thousand years ago (according to one version), are also called Australian Bushmen. During these years, until the arrival of the Europeans, the way of life of the Australian aborigines remained practically unchanged. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that you can still find Aboriginal people who have not changed their old habits in the heart of the Australian territories to this day.
It is customary to distinguish three types of Australian aborigines: Murray, Carpentarian, and Barrinean. All of them can differentiate by their appearance.
The natives of the Barrinean type, distinguished by the darkest skin color, are the most ancient representatives of the Australoid race. The natives of the Murray type are of average height with a very extensive hairline on the head and body. And in the north of the green continent live the tallest aborigines of Australia. Their skin is darker than that of the Murray, the vegetation on the body is practically absent, the head of hair is also not very thick.
The scarring technique is prevalent among the indigenous people of Australia. Australian girls cover their bodies with bizarre patterns and are ready to endure terrible torment for this. The essence of the procedure is to apply deep incisions to the skin. The process itself looked like this: a young woman knelt and put her head between the knees of a strong older woman, a man, using a shell or a flint, made deep, meaty, cuts arranged in a row (most often across the back up to the shoulders).
The operation, of course, was far from sterile and made a grave impression. Blood flowed down to the ground. And yet, the girls willingly subjected themselves to this torture since a well-striped body aroused special admiration for the opposite sex.
Aborigines of New Zealand
The indigenous people of New Zealand, which made up the bulk of the population before the arrival of Europeans, are called the Maori.
Maori women wore long knee-length skirts, cloaks, and capes. Clothes sew from New Zealand linen, woven into the fabric of dog skins and feathers. Maori of high social status wore a feather cloak. The most valuable specimens consider cover with kiwi and huia birds; the feathers of forest pigeons and parrots were less valued.
Maori men and women have long adorned their bodies with tattoos. Women most often painted only the face and chin if men covered the whole body with complex patterns. They believe that a tattoo covering the area around the mouth attracts the attention of the opposite sex. Also, the Maori believed that drawing helped to maintain youth and beauty. New Zealanders thought that wrinkles would no longer appear on an artificially wrinkled face.
The Maori borrowed the patterning technique from Polynesia. Tattooing serves for Maori and protection and a manifestation of individuality. In the old days, only representatives of the upper strata were worthy of wearing an individual tattoo. It indicated status and noble birth, so a woman with a pattern was more likely to get married.
An Aztec woman had rights, but not as broad as a man’s. For example, she could own property, turn to the community council for justice, and if her husband mistreated her, she could get a divorce. Divorced or widowed, she could remarry. Infertility was considered a heavy burden. If a woman did not give children to her husband, then he could divorce her at will.
Daughters learned everything from their mothers from an early age. They learned to spin at the age of six; at eight – sweep the floors; at thirteen – bake cakes on their own, which they will do twice a day for the rest of their lives.
Girls got married on average at the age of 16. Children were often given birthright in the cornfield and soon returned to work.
The height of the Aztec women was about 150 cm. Many of them had an attractive appearance. At least that was the point of the Spaniards, who married them and found them beautiful.
Although they were of the same cut, the clothes of the commoner class were very diverse in color, pattern, and pattern. The woman wore an ankle-length dress, which was often gorgeous with embroidery. Aztec women in this regard gave free rein to their imaginations. The conquistadors did not exaggerate the striking effect that a woman’s dress produced. Here is a description made by a priest during the monthly festivals, when women, and especially the magnificently dressed concubines, danced with the warriors: “and all were beautifully dressed, magnificently decorated, all wore beautifully crafted skirts and lovely Whipil. Some were decorated with patterns depicting hearts, others with fish, while others had a pattern of spirals or leaves on the skirts. Some were patternless, but they all had a border and a fringe. As for the shirts, then some of the women wore dark loose clothes, others had motifs that resemble smoke or black stripes, the third depicted houses or fish…”
While outside the house, the woman wore a dress that looked like a shawl over her skirt. It was a rectangular piece of fabric with a slot through which the head thread. His sides sew up, leaving slits for his hands. These ponchos often border with skulls and crossbones in keeping with the magic of Aztec beliefs.
An Aztec woman wore her sandals only on trips or if her position in society required it.
The Aztec people were relatively clean, as the water was available to everyone. The Spaniards could not hide their surprise at this, arriving from Western Europe, where rarely anyone bathed once a month. Lacking pigs and fat, the Aztecs did not even have soap as we know it, but they did have a natural detergent, the roots of the copal-Choko plant, which the practical Spaniards called the “soap tree.” These roots provided lather and use as a soap.
The hair of the Aztec women was long, black, and shiny. It was customary to weave ribbons into them on holidays, while at home, the hair loosens. When the woman worked in the field, her hair was gathered and wrapped around her head.
Cosmetics were used mainly by women of the privileged classes or courtesans. They had ointments, perfumes, and creams at their disposal. Women from simple estates did not use cosmetics. Franciscan Bernardino de Sahagun, sent to Mexico in 1529, writes that the courtesan “looks after herself and dresses with such care that it seems like a flower as soon as she is ready. And to get ready, she first looks in the mirror, bathes, bathes, and freshens up to please. She paints with a yellow ointment, which gives her a blooming look and sometimes blushes her face. She also has a habit of dyeing her teeth with cochineal (red) and loosening her hair for more extraordinary beauty. She smothers herself with a fragrant censer and walks around, chattering teeth like castanets.”
The Aztecs loved to smell good from a person. Women wore garlands of fragrant flowers and used rose water. For a pleasant smell from the mouth, they chewed an aromatic gum.
The skin of a bronze-brown hue was considered beautiful. To achieve this result, it rubs with a special ointment, a yellow clay in such demand that some provinces supplied it.
The Inca people, the Quechua, were the Native American Indians of the Andes. The Incas were primarily people of medium or short stature, usually a stocky build, with large hands, tiny wrists, a disproportionately large chest (developed for breathing at high altitudes), well-developed legs, and wide feet. Quechua has large heads, high cheekbones, prominent aquiline noses, and small almond-shaped eyes. The skin color of the Quechua Indian varies from light chocolate to hammered bronze.
Many Quechua women have delicate facial features; some are beautiful. At least the first Spaniards considered them as such and married them. The portraits made by the Spaniards show very graceful features, and the Spanish soldier wrote of the Inca women: “We saw that they are the most beautiful and attractive of all… women we have seen in the Indies are gorgeous and well-built.”
Girls became adults by the age of 14. Unlike a man of low birth, the girl had a chance to leave her Ailu community and improve her living conditions. If the girl was an exceptionally skilled weaver or possessed grace or beauty, she could qualify and become the woman of choice. In this case, she buys to the capital of a province, where she learned such specific things as weaving, cooking, and performing ceremonies in honor of the sun god, whose cult was the state religion. She could also (which usually happened) become the wife of a high-ranking official.
Inca women were surprisingly resilient. When they were not working in the field, cooking or spinning, they gave birth; infertility condemn. A man could leave a woman because of this.
Inca women’s clothing was simple. It was a long rectangular piece of fabric woven from alpaca wool that covered the head and was wide enough to wrap around the body and was held in place by a sash. It reached to the ankles, almost to the very sandals of the woman. Over it, she wore another woolen robe in the form of a cape woven from alpaca wool. She threw it on her shoulders at night or on a cold day.
On her shoulders, the woman wore a shawl, the ends of which fastened with a copper, silver, or – if she was lucky – a gold pin; this shawl wore by all local women and still wore today.
The hair was braided, tied, and tied with woolen ribbons, and the ears were pierced and worn with copper, gold, or shell earrings.
High-class people dressed in the same way as ordinary Indians, but the quality of the material was usually much better. They were easily distinguished, if not by their tunics, then by the large earrings in their ears, which were generally made of gold with precious stones.
Girls have been taught to do housework since childhood. They learned to bake corn cakes, spin, and weave cotton thread. The Maya married early: women married at 14, men married at 18. They gave birth to an average of seven to nine children, of which usually only half survived. A man could dissolve a marriage if there were no children in it.
Like many agricultural peoples, the fertility of women associated with the fertility of the land. At the site of Mayan settlements, archaeologists have found a large number of female figurines.
There are ladies in adulthood, girls in clothes with a plunging neckline, weavers with their looms.
Women’s clothing consisted of two pieces: a petticoat and a long dress. According to the surviving images, the dress and skirt could wear together or separately; in the latter case, the chest remained open. A cape made of a rectangular piece of fabric used as an outer garment. All clothes decorate with bright, colorful patterns. Women walked barefoot.
The large beads and richly woven dresses that can see on the clay figurines indicate the high position of women in Maya society.
The round face shape considers the standard of perfection. To achieve this, within five days after giving birth, the baby’s head was placed between the boards and tied so that it took a flat shape, according to custom. The bones of the skull were deformed, and the head became round. It was an excruciating process that could well end in the death of a child.
The teeth filed in the form of triangles. Sometimes they were decorated with inlaid stones, which fix with a substance like dental cement.
Squint was considered a unique charm. The god of heaven, Itzamna, is always depicted as a squint; it also shows some other gods and characters that carve on monuments. To achieve this, a thread with a wax or resin ball glued to the bridge of the nose was attached to the child’s hair after birth. Because of this, the child used to squint his eyes. The closer the ball was, the more squint appeared.
The Maya poked holes in their ears, lips, and nose cartilage to wear jewelry and tattoo. In women, the tattoo-covered the body above the waist (except for the chest). The drawing prick on the skin with the help of a sharp bone, and dye was rubbed into it, accompanied by considerable torment.
Maya’s hair was long, black, and shiny; they were wrapped around the head and worn braided like a wreath, leaving a tail hanging down like a tassel at the back. Part of the hair above the forehead shave off.
Maya women were small and very graceful. Their average height of 142.2 cm was no more than the height of a European teenage girl. Like the men, they pierced their ears and tattooed their bodies, but not their breasts. With the help of pumice, older women ground down Maya women’s teeth so that they became sharpened. It was considered exquisite. They wore their hair long and braided it in intricate braids.
Maya also used to paint their faces. The red dye obtained from the seeds of achiote was a symbol of blood. It is mixed with a very fragrant, liquid amber resin, very sticky Smell: It believes in keeping out the sun and insects.
Mesoamerica (Middle America) is a particular cultural and geographical area on which the highly developed agricultural cultures of the American continent located in ancient times. Geographically, it includes Central and Southern Mexico, Guatemala, western regions of El Salvador and Honduras. Each civilization of Mesoamerica had its language, laws, and skills, but they had a lot in common. We are primarily interested in the canons of female beauty adopted by these nationalities. Let’s consider some of them.