Today’s portrait is of Milly:
Dinka youth from a cattle camp near Akot, South Sudan sing and beat their sticks together in time to the music. Hair died orange with cow urine, the youth have also smeared cow dung ash (the white marks) on their faces, heads, and bodies as a beauty cosmetic. The cow dung ash has dual appeal, also actingas a mosquito repellent at night:
‘Charles Hankinson (Eagle Tail) of the Canadian First Nations Mi’kmaq band, dances in full traditional regalia at the Healing Horse Spirit PowWow. His face paint was “gifted” to him by his grandfather’:
Mussiro is a thick white paste extracted from the roots of the ‘N’tunkuti’ tree, traditionally worn by Makua women of Mozambique and Tanzania.
Historically it was worn to signify virginity or to indicate menstruation or an absent husband or sexual availability. It was used in ceremonies to mark the beginning of womanhood or in funerals.
Mussiro is also valued as a beauty treatment and is used from the puberty onwards to protect the skin against acne and wrinkles:
European history has numerous examples of powerful women who used a mask of pale makeup to assert their high social status and to maintain power in patriarchal societies: Catherine de Medici (1519 – 1589) wife of Henry II of France, Queen Elizabeth I of England (1553 -1603), Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793) wife of Louis XVI of France:
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, p489 Edited by Bonnie G. Smith