La Gazelle - Page 57

culture I culture I ‫ثقــافـة‬ actu news Since time immemorial, men have always had a dialectic relationship with their body. Sometimes hidden, sometimes shown off ; sometimes accepted, sometimes rejected, the body and particularly the skin have been, in every civilization, objects of attention and eventually special treatments, through make-up and tattooing. W omen have been practicing tattooing since stone age, more specifically the Neolitic Age, in several regions of the world. Mummies of tattooed women discovered in Egypt date back to the second millenium before Christ. Despite the Judaeo-Christian or Muslim religious prohibitions, this practice persisted for a long time and almost everywhere in the world. In the Maghreb, the tattoo tradition continued until an advanced time. Nowadays, just a few Tunisian women still adorn themselves with this permanent tattoo called “washm”. They usually prefer another type, the delible one, very trendy during wedding ceremonies : the “harqous”, which disappears after a few days. Actually, rural women get the “washm” tattooed on specific places of their body : the forehead, the chin, the cheeks, the back of their hands, the calfs… The technique consists of embedding within the skin, between the dermis and the epidermis, with a pointed tool, for example a needle, a dyeing blackened with carbon black, the “ghonj”. Once the skin is healed, black purplish patterns appear. The symbolism of these signs dives into cultural depths, comes from the principle of geometric abstraction. From straight lines, geometric patterns are created (triangles, diamonds, chevrons…). These patterns are arranged according to a rigorous combination based on recurrence. Obvious aesthetic bonds are noticed, especially with Sajnane’s pottery and with carpet weaving from the Tunisian South, the mergoum. The “harqous” is a black dyeing made from oak galls, cloves, walnut bark and copper sulphate. Its preparation is complex and needs a through know-how. Changing according to regions and skin areas, the drawn patterns are generally pectinate lines or ciliate chevrons. Tattooing, the practice that modifies permanently the human body, is most of the time perceived as a seal indicating an ethnicity or a sign of aesthetic ostentation ; the appreciation of beauty being a matter of culture. I Tatouages tunisiens. Extrait de la Revue d’histoire de la pharmacie. I Tunisian tattooing. From the pharmaceutical history magazine. I ‫وشم عىل الساقني. منط مرنـاقي‬ ‫عىل اليسار هاممي يف الوسط‬ ‫وشمطوري عىل اليمني. عن فرج‬ I .‫بن بركة كـارباري‬ 59 I 56 ‫الغـزالــــة‬