The fascination of Ethiopia’s Karo people in decorating their faces and bodies with chalk and ochre serves various purposes, including enhancing the chance of finding love, intimidating rivals and for aesthetics.
The Karo men cover their body and face with white chalk mixed with fat to celebrate important festivities and show off during guest visits.
“A man wearing a grey and red-ochre clay hair bun with an Ostrich feather indicates that he has bravely killed an enemy from another tribe or a dangerous animal, such as a lion or a leopard.
The Karo men cover their body and face with ashes mixed with fat, a symbol of virility for important festivities and the ritual combats.
The Karo women are considered particularly sensual and attractive if cuts are made deep into their chests and torsos and ash is rubbed in, creating a raised effect over time and thereby enhancing sexual beauty.”