PHOTO: Girls as young as 12 are being scarred with razors and it is said to portray beauty
A 12-year-old girl was photographed being sliced in her community's traditional scarification ceremony in Ethiopia.
'Blood running, flies going into the wounds, under a hard sun,' was how photographer Eric Lafforgue described the process which he witnessed with the Surma tribe from the Omo valley.
Young girls are being cut with knives and razor blades to create prominent scars considered beautiful in tribal societies in Ethiopia.
Mr Lafforgue said that the young girl maintained a stoic silence while her mother stretched her daughter's skin and cut it with a razor for 10 minutes.
'[She] did not say any word during the ten minute ceremony, and did not show any pain,' Mr Lafforgue said.
'I asked her if it was not too hard to have her skin cut with a razor blade, and she answered that she was close to collapse!'
The photographer said that children are told not to practice scarification any more, but men in the tribes say bare skin is 'ugly'.
A girl's eagerness to tolerate pain is also seen as an indication of her emotional maturity and willingness to bear children, Mr Lafforgue said after spending time with the tribe.
'The kid chooses to do it, nobody obliged her. Scarifications are a beauty sign in the tribes. This is the tradition in Surma tribe,' he said.
'It was incredible as she did not show any sign of pain on her face. It would be a shame for the family she confessed,' he said.
Scarification focuses on designing specific patterns on person's body and differs from the extremely damaging and barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).
A young girl is sliced and scarred by her mother in the Omo Valley in Ethiopia as part of her Suma tribe's tradition. Scarification is considered to be beautiful and a form of art in the area and people volunteer to undergo the practice
Scary Scarification: Flies flock to the fresh blood drawn from a 12-year-old girl as she underwent her tribe's scarification process which is considered beautiful in the Omo Valley, Ethiopia and a sign of a girl's maturity
Young girls are being cut with knives and razor blades to create prominent scars considered beautiful in tribal societies in Ethiopia. 'The kid chooses to do it, nobody obliged her,' photographer Eric Lafforgue who witnessed the process said
Scarring is considered beautiful in the Ethiopian Surma tribe but health concerns have been raised that shared blades could spread devastating diseases like hepatitis and aids. Men consider the practice beautiful which allows it to perpetuate
It is intended to create patterns and designs which are considered beautiful and desirable in their culture, the Mirror reports.
People often purposefully agitate the wounds to make the scarring more prominent.
Once the wound is open, people sometimes rub plant juices or pigments like charcoal or tree matter to further enhance the scar.
Girls as young as 12 are cut to produce scars which are considered beautiful in many African tribal societies. Once the wound is open, people sometimes rub plant juices or pigments like charcoal or tree matter to further enhance the scar
Scarification is considered a form of art and a desirable method of decorating the body in certain African tribes, including the Surma tribe in Ethiopia. The open wounds are agitated to produce prominent scarring which protrudes from the skin
More scars can be added to a person's body throughout their lives to mark life events or symbolise specific messages. The open flesh can be agitated by rubbing plant juices or pigments into the wounds to produce more prominent scars
This process can cause infection, which can result in the scar protruding noticeably once it has healed.
Scarification is believed locally to be a form of art.
Across Ethiopia other tribes also practice scarification, with Bodi women using metal to scar their bodies, often producing coil patterns around their shoulders.
The Karrayyu tribe in Ethiopia typically scar their cheeks to resemble cats. Scarring is considered beautiful in some African societies in which people volunteer to be cut and scarred at various junctures in their lives
Various African tribes practice scarring as a form of body art, symbolism and beauty. In the Karrayyu tribe in Ethiopia, people typically scar their cheeks to resemble cats. Red ochre and white chalk are sometimes used to create intricate designs
Scarring can symbolise certain qualities or messages and it is considered beautiful in some tribal African societies
In the Karo Tribe in Ethiopia, both men and women purposely scar their bodies - men scar their chests to represent killing enemies and women scar their torsos and chest because it is considered beautiful and sexually desirable.
Women use stones to gauge their skins, leaving deep, discoloured scars in the Menit tribe.
The Karrayyu tribe typically scar their cheeks to resemble cats, and Dassanech women from Omorate village scar their shoulders.
In the Mursi tribe, scars were seen as a symbol of strength.
The practice is also found in other countries in the region.
Scarring is produced by cutting a person's skin with a blade or sharp object to produce specific design on a person's face or body. In the Surmac tribe in Ethiopia, girls as young as 12 undergo the process
Both men and women scar as a way to be more visually appealing and attractive, while looking intimidating to rivals in certain African tribes. Scarring has also been gaining popularity in the West as tattoos have become increasingly mainstream
Girls as young as 12 are cut with blades to produce intricate, symbolic scarring patterns across their bodies and sometimes faces. People often purposefully agitate the open wounds after they have been cut to make the scarring more prominent
In south Sudan Toposa women create geometric scars on their stomach when they marry.
And the Toposa men scar their chests, with the entire area covered only when they have killed an enemy.
Sudanese men from the Nuer tribe creates parallel lines on their chest, and women from the Datoga tribe, in Tanzania, scar the skin around their eyes for beauty.
The scarring process can be long and painful, and more scars can be added to the intricate designs throughout a person's lifetime. Scars can symbolise beauty, strength, maturity or other specific messages
Scarring is considered beautiful in certain African tribal societies and it is also believed to intimidate rival tribe members
Scarification is viewed in some societies as a symbol of strength or of beauty. Scars can be cut across a person's face or body to form specific designs and patterns particular to their region
But health risks have recently become associated with the practice as sharing knives has led to the spread of Hepatitis and in some cases aids.
Some people are turning away from the practice for a variety of reasons, including religion, identification, judgement from others and negative connotations.
Scarification and body modification has also been growing in popularity in the West, with many tattoo parlors in the UK now also offering the practice.
But health risks have recently become associated with the scarring practice as sharing knives has led to the spread of diseases, including hepatitis and in some cases aids
Some people from tribal societies are turning away from the practice for a variety of reasons, including religion, identification, judgement from others and negative connotations
Scarification has increased in popularity in the West, with many tattoo parlors in the UK now offerring scarification as another form of body modification as tattoos have become increasingly mainstream