Man from the Upper Congo
By the time Christian missionaries from Europe became established in the Congo in the 1800s, scarification was a highly-developed and elaborate means of body decoration for the indigenous Congolese inhabitants.
Many missionaries working in central Africa disapproved of practices such as scarification, contrasting it with an un-modified ‘natural body’ made in God’s image. During the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, postcards and photos featuring scarified people were circulated in Europe. Scarification came to represent the ‘exotic’.
Picture courtesy of BMS World Mission Archives, Angus Library at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, UK.