The Kama Sutra (Part II Chapter IV On Pressing, Marking or Scratching with the Nails, page 2 of 3)


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(4). A mark in the form of a small line, and which can be made on any part of the body, is called a "line."

(5). This same line, when it is curved, and made on the breast, is called a "tiger's nail."

(6). When a curved mark is made on the breast by means of the five nails, it is called a "peacock's foot." This mark is made with the object of being praised, for it requires a great deal of skill to make it properly.

(7). When five marks with the nails are made close to one another near the nipple of the breast, it is called "the jump of a hare."

(8). A mark made on the breast or on the hips in the form of a leaf of the blue lotus, is called the "leaf of a blue lotus."

When a person is going on a journey, and makes a mark on the thighs, or on the breast, it is called a "token of remembrance." On such an occasion three or four lines are impressed close to one another with the nails.

Here ends the marking with the nails. Marks of other kinds than the above may also be made with the nails, for the ancient authors say, that as there are innumerable degrees of skill among men (the practice of this art being known to all), so there are innumerable ways of making these marks. And as pressing or marking with the nails is independent of love, no one can say with certainty how many different kinds of marks with the nails do actually exist. The reason of this is, Vatsyayana says, that as variety is necessary in love, so love is to be produced by means of variety. It is on this account that courtezans, who are well acquainted with various ways and means, become so desirable, for if variety is sought in all the arts and amusements, such as archery and others, how much more should it be sought after in the present case.

The marks of the nails should not be made on married women, but particular kinds of marks may be made on their private parts for the remembrance and increase of love.

There are also some verses on the subject, as follows:

"The love of a woman who sees the marks of nails on the private parts of her body, even though they are old and almost worn out, becomes again fresh and new. If there be no marks of nails to remind a person of the passages of love, then love is lessened in the same way as when no union takes place for a long time."

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