Return of the Tribal: A Celebration of Body Adornment

Excerpts & Samples

By Rufus C. Camphausen

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Rufus C. Camphausen

Rufus C. Camphausen
Born in Germany, Rufus C. Camphausen is a writer and illustrator now living in the Netherlands. He is the author of Return of the Tribal, The Encyclopedia of Erotic Wisdom and The Yoni as well as numerous articles and essays on religious history, mythology, and sacred sexuality.



A photographic exploration of the modern revival of piercing, tattooing, scarification, and body painting that reveals its origins in tribal culture and practices. 

Since earliest times, tribal cultures around the world have used body marks and modifications to indicate membership and rank within the group, identify with spiritual totems, express sacrifice and loss, and enhance physical attraction and sexual enjoyment. Today we are witnessing a renaissance of interest in body adornment that many interpret as a return to our tribal beginnings--a way to identify who we are in an urban world that has lost its sense of community. Return of the Tribal takes a non-judgmental look at a great variety of practices of body adornment and modification--from prehistoric and aboriginal to those of modern urban tribals in cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, and Amsterdam. From the beautiful to the bizarre, the author shows the many beautiful and bizarre ways people choose to alter their appearance. 

"First tattoos, then piercings and now--metal mohawks? Modern primitives are taking body modification to the extremes with scalp implants."

"By juxtaposing photos of 'modern urban tribals' against images of indigenous people, Camphausen effectively places this oh-so '90s practice firmly within a historical and global context. The results are fascinating."
Publishers Weekly

"This book brings dignity and respect to the contemporary practice of body adornment in all its forms. By alternating stunning images from tribal and urban cultures, Camphausen makes his point convincingly.
Magical Blend,  David Merritt 

"A veritable travelogue through the geography of human imagination. Camphausen proves convincingly that today's body modification trend is more like a revival than a fad."