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5 Weird Practices to Preserve Beauty Through Ages in Asia

Beauty even though doesn’t have any survival value, human beings will do anything to preserve it. Anybody remember the legendary Queen Cleopatra who is known for her high maintenance beauty secrets like bathing in milk and honey, fortified with natural plant products and herbs. Well, most of her beauty secrets were scientific, how about this - using crocodile dung mixed with donkey’s milk as a face mask. Here are some of the weirdest Asian practices to preserve ideal beauty, arranged in no particular order.

1. Japanese Ohaguro

People these days are visiting more often to dental clinics to make their teeth sparkling white and cosmetic dentistry is a burgeoning field of medicine. But not everyone believes that white teeth are the ideal beauty yardstick. In Japan, there is a tradition called “Ohaguro”, where women dye their teeth pitch black using lacquer or plant extracts. Believe it or not, these materials are said to provide some antibacterial action and thereby prevent tooth decay too.

2. Chinese foot binding 

Another weird ritual from China. The cruel practice of binding the feet of young girls in unusually small shoes (3 inches) curbing the further growth of bones resulting in extremely mutilated and unbelievably small feet (The golden lotus foot). This epitomizes “suffering for beauty” and those women will remain crippled for life (link).

3. Padaung of Burma

Another painful and weird beauty experiment - Burmese “neck stretching” or Padaung. The women will stretch the length of their necks by wearing metallic rings around neck, sequentially added over time (usually many years) and stretching the neck up to 18 inches high. Well, there is an interesting story behind this practice that this originated as a means of protection of women from tiger attacks which later transformed into a status symbol - of beauty and wealth. The most bizarre thing is that if you take the rings off the woman's neck, she may die as the neck is no longer strong enough to support the head. The husband can demand to take the rings of, if the women betrays him, nice custom, right?

4. The nose plugs of Apatani Tribe - India

Well, the above said traditions were intended to make people more beautiful (or atleast they thought so), this on the other side were done to make people ugly. Apatani women of Arunachal Pradesh, India, stuff large nose plugs (Yaping hullo) to make themselves unattractive to foreign men. Anyway this practice is no longer in vogue among the tribe.

5. Ear stretching

 Ear stretching (Guaging) is a fashion right now. People stretch their ears and wear fashionable ornaments, but for some it is tradition. The Lahu from Thailand do this because they believe that human ear is sacred and so should wear more jewellery for better life. By gauging their ears, they are able to wear the maximum amount of jewellery and a resultant grace from gods. Fashion mongers can read this article about Guaging here (link).



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