Skull Body Jewellery

The History Of Skulls In Art

Throughout history the human skull has been portrayed in countless paintings, architectural structures, religious artifacts, film genre, musical pieces, decoration, tattoos, jewellery, and photography.

It is safe to say the human skull has continued to have a powerful impact on the human race since the first anatomically modern humans appeared in fossils around 195,000 years ago.  

However, the earliest artistic use of the human skill did not occur until around 7000 B.C. in Jericho (modern day Palestine.) This is one of the oldest inhabited cities on our planet, The discovery of more than 20 successive settlements in the area (dating back to around 10,000 B.C.) indicates that Jericho flourished coinciding with the exchange of the hunter gather lifestyle for permanent agricultural settlements. With these settlements came permanent human graves, thus came the handling of human remains for burial.  During this time when the bodies were buried (Usually under the house) a process called ‘Plaster Skulls’ was adopted. This was the process of removing the deceased skull before burial, removing any remaining skin, replacing it with plaster, removing the eyes and placing shells or cowries in the sockets. This skull was then decorated to resemble the dead and placed inside the home. This suggest that the first use of skulls for artistic purposes was in fact a funerary process, this sparked of a huge history leading right up to the current year 2016 of embracing and celebrating death with art.

 Plaster skull from Jericho, 7000-6000 B.C

 

Rick Genest (Zombie Boy)

I’ve always been fascinated by Rick Genest and his choice in body modification, if there is anyone who completely engulfs himself in death and the underworld it is this man. Rick is covered head to toe in corpse tattoos. He has the nick name Zombie Boy for his extreme choice of decorating his body.  Before he embarked on his tattooing journey Rick was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Whilst he was awaiting surgery for six months he began to contemplate his own life and the possibility of his demise. He pulled through his surgery with minor complications. His body is truly a work of art, He has been published in countless magazines one of my most favored photo shoots he is featured in is Joey L.’s Dali inspired skull. As a print of the original Dali piece hangs in my own home in which Dali depicts desirable death perfectly with the help of Philippe Halsman, I was excited to see this modern collaboration including one of the most iconic tattooed models of our generation.

           

Zombie Boy as the main center-piece of this Dali-inspired skull shot by Joey L.   “In Voluptas Mors” Salvador Dali

 

Tattooing

Real’s tattooist Simon Watkins has a passion for tattooing skulls on his clients,  Simon believes they make a good symbol to cover a previous unwanted tattoo because of the shape and density of the colour or shade.  They are shocking and stand out on the body and there are many different styles you can choose from for your own tattoo. Below are some pictures of Simon’s skull tattoos.  To book your appointment with Simon please follows the details here.

     

   

 All tattoos performed by Real's Tattooist Simon Watkins

 

Music and cartoons

There are many musical pieces that include the symbolism of skulls, La Danse Macabre  written by Camille Saint Saëns in 1874 is inspired by the artistic genre of late medieval allegory on the universality of death and how the deceased would dance to the grave whilst summoning representatives from all walks of life. Disney’s Silly Symphonies created a short cartoon in 1929 called ‘The Skeleton Dance’ which I believe has influenced the creators of the 1992 children’s television programme ‘Funnybones.’ It strikes me  that these cartoons were created with some element of helping the younger generations come to terms with death, there by depicting it as something to not be afraid of.  This links to the history of skull symbolism in aiding humans to embrace death as a part of life. 

 

 

 

Damien Hurst

Damien Hurst’s created his piece ‘For The Love Of God-2007’ a truly jaw dropping skull adorned with Platinum, diamonds and human teeth. This is one of my favourite pieces of art; it takes the macabre of death and decay and turns it into something glamorous and alluring. It is suggested that Damien’s ‘For The Love Of God’ has taken some influences from The ancient Zapotec and Mixteca people of Oaxaca and Pubela. They would decorate the skulls of their ancestors with bamboo, jade, ivory, turquoise and other minerals to depict their status in life.  

                        

     Mosaic Skull, 1400-1521                  Damian Hurst ‘For The Love Of God’ 2007

 

Symbolism

When it comes to the core symbolism of skulls, I believe it is what they mean to your personally, though there is a strong tie between death and evil, others may view them very differently. For some, skulls symbolize protection, strength, power, fearlessness, wisdom, guidance, overcoming death, surviving through a difficult time, or even immortality. There is no wrong or right symbolism to skulls, it is what it means to you.

 

BMG Body jewellery range

BMG's head goldsmith Barnaby King has created some stunning pieces of body jewellery due to be released for sale on Friday the 13th of May.  The pieces we offer are either platinum, 14ct white gold, 18ct yellow gold, 18ct rose gold, 9ct white gold with rhodium plating. All of these can contain beautiful precious stones including diamonds.  These pieces correlate with Damian Hurt’s work and the Mosaic Skulls in creating a glamorous way to decorate death as something beautiful.  What better way to feel strong and empowered that to adorn your piercing with custom made skull jewellery, These pieces are sure to turn heads.

 

You can read more about the intricate process of 3D printing that we use to create these custom one of kind jewellery here.

To view and purchase our skull body jewellery check out our range here.

 

Written By Harley Fox 

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