Much like face painting the practice of body painting dates from Prehistoric art and civilization, and has happened since one of most prehistoric peoples and tribal art around the world.
Bodies are adorned with a wide variety of substances, for a multiplicity of reasons, including animal and plant pigments.
This sort of Body artwork was used to celebrate ceremonial occasions (eg. Puberty, union ), and to identify key individuals (eg, chiefs, witch-doctors and spiritualists) and social castes (India). Additionally, war-paint was used by American Indians to signify a state of hostility – watch American Indian artwork for much more about the culture of the Plains Indians.
Body paints were protective: for instance, Aboriginal tribes used paint to safeguard against the sun’s warmth. Another illustration of protective body painting was using woad by Native American Celtic tribes throughout the Imperial Roman era. The blue pigment supposedly protected against the cold, although this hasn’t yet been proved.