For a long time now ritual scarification has been used as an initiation rite. One have to endure pain in order to become a full member of society. In this case marks on the body are an evidence of strength and self-discipline. At the same time for these people making scars on the body is the way to beautify themselves. Also, there is an observation that scarification has been most-used among equatorial nations because it would be difficult to see a tattoo on a dark skin. So we could see that all these cultural/religious matters are closely entwined with the different aesthetic principles making the subject of ritual scarification so interesting and complex – I really wish I had a deeper knowledge of it.
On a side note – when searching for the images I just found out that Louis Vuitton once made a bag inspired by the African rituals of scarification. Maybe it’s just me being snobbish and all but somehow for me it seems to be so wrong that such sophisticated and controversial concept has been used to produce just another logo-stamped luxury bag.