History and the rules of drawing war paint
Along with the development of language as a tool of communication, non-verbal communication methods developed. Before learning to speak coherently, for communication, a person used the limbs of his hands and facial expressions, unconsciously learning to put so much sense in every arc and a straight line on his face that all this was enough to be an extremely understandable interlocutor. Going to war or hunting, he put a symmetrical ornament on his face, emphasizing intentions, and with the help of mimic muscles the coloring came to life and began to work according to specific rules.
In this article we tried to raise the main milestones in stories war paint, find out how it is used today, and also make a short instruction on the application.
The history of war paint
It is known that war paint was used by the ancient Celts, who used for this indigo blue, obtained from woad dye. The Celts applied the resulting solution on a naked body or painted its bare parts. Although it is impossible to say with complete confidence that the Celts were the first to invent war paint on the face - woad was used in the Neolithic era.
New Zealand Maori applied permanent symmetrical patterns on the skin of the face and body, which were called “ta-moko”. Such a tattoo was extremely important in Maori culture; by “ta-moko” it was possible to read the social status of a person, but, in addition, it was an attempt to make “permanent camouflage” and at the same time create a prototype of a military uniform. In 1642, Abel Tasman first reached the shores of New Zealand and came face-to-face with local people. In the diaries, preserved from that time, there is not a word about the fact that he met people with tattoos on their faces. The 1769 expedition of the year, which included the naturalist Joseph Banks, witnessed strange and unusual tattoos on the faces of the local Aboriginal people in her observations. That is, it took at least another hundred years before Maori began to use tattoos.
North American Indians used paints to apply patterns to the skin, which helped them, as was the case with Maori, to personify. The Indians believed that the patterns would help them gain magical protection in battle, and the color patterns on the faces of the fighters made them look fiercer and more dangerous.
In addition to coloring their own body, the Indians put patterns on their horses; it was believed that a certain pattern on the horse’s body would protect it and give it magical abilities. Some symbols meant that the warrior expresses respect for the gods or is blessed for victory. This knowledge was passed on from generation to generation until culture was destroyed during the wars of conquest.
Just as modern soldiers receive awards for their achievements in military affairs, an Indian had the right to inflict a certain pattern only after he had distinguished himself in battle. Therefore, each mark and symbol on the body carried an important meaning. Palm, for example, meant that an Indian was distinguished in hand-to-hand combat and has good combat skills. In addition, the palm imprint could serve as a charm, symbolizing that the Indian will be invisible on the battlefield. In turn, a woman from a tribe who saw an Indian warrior with a handprint, understood that with such a man nothing threatened her. The symbolism of the patterns went far beyond just ritual actions and social markings; it was necessary as an amulet, like a bodily placebo, which gives strength and courage to a warrior.
Not only graphic markers were important, but also the color basis of each character. Symbols painted with red paint signified blood, strength, energy and success in battle, but they could also have completely peaceful connotations — beauty and happiness — if they painted faces with such colors.
Black color meant readiness for war, strength, but carried more aggressive energy. Black color marked those warriors who returned home after a victorious battle. The ancient Romans did the same, returning to Rome on horseback after victory, but they painted their faces in bright red, imitating their god of war, Mars. White color meant sorrow, although there was another meaning - the world. Blue or green patterns were applied to the most intellectually developed and spiritually enlightened members of the tribe. These colors meant wisdom and endurance. Green is closely associated with harmony and the power of providence.
Later, the Indians began to use the coloring not only to frighten, but also as a camouflage - they selected the colors of the coloring in accordance with the conditions. The flowers were “treated”, defended, prepared for the “new life”, expressed the inner state and social status, and, of course, the coloring of the face and body was applied as decorative elements.
Modern interpretation of war paint purely practical. The military put black coloring on the face under the eyes and cheeks to reduce the reflection of sunlight from the skin surface, which is not protected by camouflage fabric.
When we look at the image, the brain processes a huge amount of information received from the eyes and other senses. In order for the mind to extract some meaning from what he saw, the brain divides the overall picture into its component parts. When the eye looks at a vertical line with green spots, the brain receives a signal and identifies it as a tree, and when the brain perceives many, many trees, it already sees them as a forest.
Consciousness tends to recognize something as an independent object only if this object has a continuous color. It turns out that a person is much more likely to be noticed if his costume is absolutely solid. Under the conditions of the jungle, a large number of flowers in the camouflage pattern will be perceived as a holistic object, because the jungle is literally made up of small details.
Open skin reflects light and attracts attention. Usually, in order to properly paint, the soldiers help each other before starting the operation. The shiny parts of the body — forehead, cheekbones, nose, ears, and chin — are painted in dark colors, and shadow (or darkened) areas of the face — around the eyes, under the nose, and under the chin — in light green shades. In addition to the face, the coloring is applied to the exposed parts of the body: the back of the neck, hands, and hands.
Two-tone camouflage coloring is often applied randomly. The palms of the hands are usually not disguised, but if in military operations the hands are used as a communication tool, that is, they serve to transmit nonverbal tactical signals, they are also masked. In practice, three standard types of face paint are used more often: loam (clay color), light green, applicable to all types of land forces in areas where there is insufficient green vegetation, and clay white color for troops on snowy terrain.
In the development of protective paints take into account two main criteria: the protection and safety of the soldier. The criterion of security means simplicity and ease of use: when a soldier applies paint on the exposed parts of the body, it must remain stable in an environment that is resistant to perspiration and be suitable for uniforms. Painting the face does not reduce the natural sensitivity of the soldier, has practically no odor, does not cause irritation on the skin and does not cause harm if the paint accidentally gets into the eyes or mouth.
Currently, there is a prototype of paint that protects the skin of a soldier from the heat wave during an explosion. What is meant: in fact, the heat wave from the explosion lasts no more than two seconds, its temperature is 600 ° C, but this time is enough to completely burn the face and severely damage unprotected limbs. As stated, the new material is able to protect open skin from a light burn for 15 seconds after the explosion.
There are designs of coloring for the face, which reflect infrared rays and protect soldiers from mosquitoes and other insects. Usually, the soldier first applied a protective layer of insect repellent to protect exposed skin from bites, and after the cream was absorbed into the skin, a protective face paint was applied. Today there are developments in which these two functions fit in one bottle.
Digital CV protection (Computer Vision, or face recognition system) is being developed in military institutions, but there is also a civilian version called the CV Dazzle. It is based on the Dazzle naval camouflage from the time of the First World War - black and white lines are applied to the skin of the face, which prevents the computer system from recognizing the face. The project was launched in 2010 year and is aimed at digital protection of a person against urban cameras, which is becoming more and more from year to year.
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