Maasai and Ear Piercing and Other Body Modifications

In eHRAF’s Advanced Search the “Add Subjects” function can be used to pick “body modification” as OCM subject. This and other OCM subjects can be used to search across all cultures, or a specific culture (e.g. the Masai) to find paragraphs and pages of ethnographic texts with information on body alterations such as scarification and tattooing; cranial deformations; tooth filing and removal; piercing of ears, nose, and lips, etc. Adding a keyword (e.g. ear or ears) will further narrow your search.

This image shows “body alteration” as selected OCM subject, “Maasai” as culture name, and specific keywords in an Advanced Search in eHRAF World Cultures.


eHRAF Advanced Search for the OCM subject "body alteration" (OCM 304), the "Maasai" as culture name, and keywords.

eHRAF Advanced Search for the OCM subject “body alteration” (OCM 304), the “Maasai” as culture name, and keywords.

Steps in Using OCM subjects, culture names, and keywords in an eHRAF Advanced Search

Step 1. Find the culture name
Click Add Cultures>A-Z Index> type in Maasai (a culture in Eastern Africa) then select by checking the box to the left and by clicking “Add Cultures”

Step 2. Find subject(s) for body alteration or body modification
Click Add Subjects –use tabs to find “matching” subjects for your topic:
>A-Z Index (type the word “body alteration” in index box)
>Major Subjects> Arts > Adornment  > OCM 304 Body Alteration
OCM Code > 300-399 > Adornment > OCM 304 Body Alteration (this is the quickest way to see the OCM thesaurus in its entirety)
Once subject is found click box to the left of the subject name and click Add Subjects

Step 3. Add the words “ear” and “ears” in Keyword box (see image above). Don’t use a truncated word (ear*) unless you want to retrieve words like early, earth, earn, etc.

Step 4. Set Boolean operators!
AND to narrow the search
OR to expand the search
(see green and red circle in image above)

Step 5. Click “Search” to perform your search.  This will search the ethnographic texts for the Maasai culture for information on ear modification.

Try your own eHRAF Advanced Search in eHRAF World Cultures. Contact for a current login.

More Search Methods Posts:

Related eHRAF User Guide Links