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Ear piercing has been practiced all over the world since ancient times.
There is considerable written and archaeological evidence of the practice.
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.
It was popular among the Aztecs, the Mayans and the tribes of New Guinea, who adorned their pierced noses with bones and feathers to symbolize wealth and (among men) virility.
Mummified bodies with pierced ears have been discovered, including the oldest mummified body discovered to date, the 5,300-year-old Ötzi the Iceman, which was found in a glacier in Italy. In Genesis 35:4, Jacob buries the earrings worn by members of his household along with their idols.
In Exodus 32, Aaron makes the golden calf from melted earrings.
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.
It remains customary for Indian Hindu women of childbearing age to wear a nose stud, usually in the left nostril, due to the nostril's association with the female reproductive organs in Ayurvedic medicine.Some forms of piercing remain controversial, particularly when applied to youth.