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In some parts of Malawi, it was quite common for women to adorn their lips with a lip disc called a "pelele" that by means of gradual enlargement from childhood could reach several inches of diameter and would eventually alter the occlusion of the jaw.The history of nipple piercing, navel piercing, and genital piercing has been particularly misrepresented by printed works continuing to repeat myths that were originally promulgated by Malloy in the pamphlet Body & Genital Piercing in Brief.However, records do exist that refer to practices of nipple and genital piercing in various cultures prior to the 20th century.Kama Sutra, dated to the Gupta Empire of Ancient India, describes genital piercing to permit sexual enhancement by inserting pins and other objects into the foreskin of the penis.
Nose piercing has been practiced by the Bedouin tribes of the Middle East and the Berber and Beja peoples of Africa, Many Native American and Alaskan tribes practiced septum piercing.
In Exodus 32, Aaron makes the golden calf from melted earrings.
Deuteronomy –17 dictates ear piercing for a slave who chooses not to be freed.
Contemporary body piercing practices emphasize the use of safe body piercing materials, frequently utilizing specialized tools developed for the purpose.
Body piercing is an invasive procedure with some risks, including allergic reaction, infection, excessive scarring and unanticipated physical injuries, but such precautions as sanitary piercing procedures and careful aftercare are emphasized to minimize the likelihood of encountering serious problems.
There is considerable written and archaeological evidence of the practice.