I wrote about the navel piercing among Nepali actresses and the ex-princess, Himani Shah in my previous article. While writing and collecting materials for a video report on navel piercing, I looked for the information on how this fashion had originated. I looked into ancient Hindu literatures and modern fashion resources to get the idea.
Ancient Hindu literature
One of the most important literature or DYI books in Hindu literature is Kamasutra. The ancient text written by Vatsayan is a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life. Historians believe the Kama Sutra to have been composed between 400 BCE and 200 CE. John Keay says that the Kama Sutra is a compendium that was collected into its present form in the 2nd century CE.
The ancient text, mentions the practice of ear piercing and details on genital piercings for better sexual satisfaction. Ear piercing had been in practice for thousands of year and the oldest earrings found in a grave is dated 2500 BCE.
So, piercing can be considered to be as old as the civilization.
Now the original question, “Did Himani or other modern women in Nepal who pierce their navel got the idea from the ancient literature?”
I don’t think so. There is no clear indication of the benefits of navel piercing. Genetical piercing are found useful, ear or nose piercings have been practiced for conquering the fear and to scare away the demons. So, the navel piercings can safely be considered imported from the western world.
History of Navel Piercing
Although people believe navel piercing being practice in ancient times but there is no definitive proof for that. The modern navel piercing in the western world started in the early 1990s. Some models showed off their pierced navel in fashion shows. The first fashion show that attracted people’s attention was held in London in 1993. It was the same year when a music video of musical group Aerosmith, ‘Cryin’ was released. In the music video model Arica Silverstone is shown piercing navel.
After that, navel piercing had became a fashion style. In Nepal, the trend became more popular in the late 2000s and later. These days, many models sport navel piercing and various styles of jewellers. As navel piercing is more common these days, people don’t raise their eyebrows in surprise when they see one on people. The model in this week’s Saptahik weekly has also sported navel piercing.
Although I have seen many female pierce their navel, I am yet to see males in Nepal with such piercing. If you know somebody with navel piercing, please comment below.
[Previous post on Nepali actresses and models who have pierced their bellies.]