Scars With a Purpose


Scars With a Purpose

We attract to ourselves the people, things and experiences that we are drawn to. I know it seems cliche to say this, but I don’t know how else to explain it. I had seen a portrait of a Nuer man on a friend’s Facebook page. I’ve seen him share this photo before and I found it to be so stunning. As a photographer and painter of portraits, it drew me in, the intensity of this portrait and the light was so stunning. I made a comment that I wanted to paint that portrait, my friend was more than happy about that. I searched the internet to see if it was a copyright image and I couldn’t find the source. I did paint it and of course posted the painting on my Facebook page. When all was said and done I discovered the source/photographer of the portrait. The very day that I had spoken to my sister about it, she asked me if I had given him credit, I was feeling apprehensive because when I painted it I had no idea who it belonged to. Then he (the photographer) sent me a message, he is kind to say the least, I did include his link on my post of the painting but in case you don’t see it there, here is the website of this photographer; all I can say is WOW his work is so amazing. http://www.mario-gerth.de/ I am certain that you will like his work.

Here is the information about the significance of the scars.
The pattern of the scarification takes the form of 6 lines across the forehead. They are given to a youth as an initiation into manhood and each stands for a code of behaviour that the youth is supposed to perfect as a man. Line 1: You are no longer a boy. You are now a man and should not entangle yourself with childish things. Line 2: You are now a man, you are to fear no one and are now independent of your parents. Line 3: You must participate in the defense of the public without fear of death, and you must take care of your household with as much vigour as you would take in the defense of the public. You must not steal, or take part in any scandalous activities. Line 4: You must exercise honour and dignity; being especially careful to not eat at inappropriate places and times. Line 5: You are never to be gluttonous, or covetous. Line 6: You are never to commit adultery, especially with the wife of a man near of kin to you, or to have sexual relations with a girl that is related to you, in particular those that have some sort of blood relation to you. To do so is a violation of the incest taboo and will result in disgrace and death.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary says:

    An amazing painting Heather, intriguing and filled with intensity – awesome work. Did find the discussion below of initiation into manhood interesting, especially as you listed out the purpose to each line.

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    1. Hi Mary, Nice to see you here. Thank you for your encouragement, I am so glad that you like this one. I also find it so interesting when I read about the traditions and what each line meant, I’m glad you found that intriguing. It is an honor for them to do this; it’s part of their heritage. 🙂 Talk to you soon, take care.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great portrait Heather! And thanks for sending the information about the meaning of the scars. Always enjoy seeing your work. ~Rita

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    1. Oh yes, thank you Rita, it is so interesting to me…funny how I can see connections in people once I stop to learn the why… why is someone doing this or that…why does someone behave a certain way, why does someone believe a certain way. I guess I am still a child asking… why?

      Liked by 1 person

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