Marc Pinto: Professional Custom Cauterie Branding Services
History of Branding
The word “branding” carries many connotations be it cars, shoes, clothing – but the last one that comes to mind in the 21st century we live in, is what the word originally meant. To brand, is literally to burn. To permanently place a burn mark onto an object.
The act of branding livestock to denote ownership dates back to the ancient Egyptians. The technique would be passed down through the ages where it would most famously be applied by cowboys of the Americas where a red-hot iron brand would be pressed into the skin of the animal, normally a cow or a horse, allowing animals from different owners to graze on an open range avoiding confusion. It is from the long tradition that branding came to denote ownership of an animal, and with the progression of time, ownership of people too.
The application of brands to humans probably started with the Greeks and Romans where slaves were branded on their legs to denote servitude and prevent escape. Through the process of branding, a slave wound hence be bound to the master until he or she was sold to another master in which a new brand would be applied again. In this era, branding a person could thus be seen as an extremely dehumanizing action, reducing the slave to no more than a biological entity akin to a cow.
This dehumanizing aspect would later be used as punishment binding criminals to their crimes for life. In France, criminals were branded with the initials “TFP” to signify hard labour for life and adulterers in puritan settlements in America were branded with an “A” usually on the chest for men and bosom for women. Often, the location depended on the severity of the crime, with serious offences getting more visible locations like arms or even forehead to increase the humiliation.
The brand is also to some people a re-affirmation of their beliefs much like tattoos are due to the irreversibility of the process. Hence the process of pain to achieve the ultimate result may often be perceived as a deeply spiritual one. Branding as part and parcel of spirituality has been longest documented amongst Hindu devotees of the Vaishnava Sect. The branding of Vishnu devotees was known as taapa and is the first in a fivefold process of initiation. The V-shaped strike brand is first heated in a sacrificial fire till it is red-hot before being applied to the devotee’s shoulder. The process represented a purification of the mind, body and soul.
Branding in a modern context
Branding has continually evolved throughout history and its increasing popularity today represents an abolishment of old taboos and an increasing openness in the modern world.
The infamous history of branding has not deterred people of the 21st century adorning themselves with various designs using this technique. While the traditional form of branding, known as “strike-branding” by the body modification industry is still practiced, branding techniques have also evolved so as to allow more complex designs.
Electro-cautery branding is more commonly practiced these days and it involves the use of a device akin to an arc welder. The hand-held device creates a spark of electricity which burns the skin. With its ability to control the depth of damage and accuracy of the cut, this method allows for more intricate designs.
Yet despite its dark history, people wishing to set themselves apart from the rest of the crowd often seek out branding as a means of adorning their bodies as tattoos gain greater popularity. Apart from being head turners, brands often provide their wearers with an exciting tale to tell about the pain endured to receive the selected design.
Today, branding designs are unique and varied, with people opting for one-off designs that compliment their own style and physique. From traditional tribal to modern contemporary designs, branding offers a different medium in which to adorn one’s body.
Branding is enjoying resurgence in Perth, Australia and Marc Pinto of Primitive Body Piercing Studio in Barrack St, is leading the way in this primal art form. Marc Pinto is an international pioneer in the promotion and preservation of the traditional art of fine cauterie branding. Primitive Body Piercing Studio is the only one in Perth that offers professional custom cauterie branding services, where each design can be uniquely custom made for the individual. Having trained at the Fakir Musafar School of Branding Intensives in San Francisco, Marc Pinto has also pioneered techniques for fine cauterie branding that is now used and taught in the Fakir School of Branding Intensives itself.
With more than 13 years experience, Marc Pinto and his team are passionate about the traditional history of the branding culture and hope to adorn the bodies of their clients with pieces of artwork that will keep the rich history of branding progressing well into the future.
Note: Professional custom cauterie branding services are now also available at Marc Pinto Primitive Tattoo in Singapore.
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