People around the world have been piercing, tattooing, and painting their bodies for ages.
There's excellent evidence of this in the galleries of the Penn Museum, some of it dating as far back as the 9th century BCE. Body modification and what it means is personal and cultural.
Visit the Bodies of Cultures website.
This exhibit asks the questions:
What's the big stink over a little ink?
Pierced ears? Before there were malls?
Can you see any better with a forehead dot?
Is Madonna a mehndi wannabe? Are you?