Scarification, like tattoos, are utilized by tribal communities for any number of reasons. Just like in present Western societies, their purpose can range from pure decoration to a permanent declaration of membership to a specific group.
Some tribes start to inscribe their children at birth. This process continues even after death.
I find the amount of commitment and trust one must possess to endure such a process, as well as the beauty that comes from what I can only assume as an excruciating process extremely inspiring. While I could never get this done, I'd love to emulate the look through embossed leather in similar motifs.
"At a time when the Western world is desperately seeking to escape a dreadful uniformity of dress, it is important to understand the wealth and symbolism of practices from other corners of the world, a veritable language employed by people who are sometimes still dubbed 'primitive.' Yet aren't we all 'barbaric' in someone else's eyes?" - Bernenice Geoffroy-Schneiter, Ethnic Style History and Fashion (2001)
The pictures below were scanned, again, from Ethnic Style. A great majority of these images were taken in the early to mid 20th century.
More images I pulled from google images:
*images from uihealthcare, flickr, and beautyisnotonlyskindeep blog