Burmese Tattoos (Part 4)

Burmese historical facts in the context of Burmese Tattoos.  This is the Part 4 of Burmese Tattoos article by Guest Author

[Important Read: Tattoo Risks, Right Precaution & How to Remove Tattoo]

Magic Tattoos 

Having a magic tattoo does by far not suffice to be, for instance, protected from harm or have supernatural powers. In order to develop its magic powers to the full, the tattooer needs to be a monk. This monk needs to say prayers during the tattooing process and does also need to blow onto the finished tattoo in order to activate its capabilities of performing magic tasks. The place of the tattoo is also of decisive importance. If for instance, the snake tattoo is not placed on the ankle it will not protect you from snakebite.

Snake Tattoo to protect Snakebites,  [Circa 1956, Flickr Photo: collection of old photos]
Other tattooing methods are the Tebori technique, the methods applied by the Maoris of New Zealand (Maori Mask) and the method used by the in Alaska and Canada living Inuit tribes, which I mention here for the sake of completion without intending to further elaborate on them at this place and time.

At the outset of this chapter, I want to make a quick excursion into Burma’s past because this will help you to better understand the following. I do often hear or read things such as ‘Tattoos have always had their place in Burmese culture ever since the Shans acquired the craft in Southern China, before bringing it to the Burmese’. Formulations like this or words to this effect testify to a severe lack of knowledge on the topic ‘Burmese History’ on the part of those writing or saying such things. Why is this so? This is so because it simply isn’t true, grossly misleading, to say the least. Let me explain; words like the a.m. create the impression that at the time in question (200 BC or hundreds of years thereafter) Burma and a Burmese Culture already existed. This is definitely not so. Why not? At the time that tattoos and the art of tattooing became part of the Shan culture the arrival of the first Burman in the region that is nowadays part of Burma was still more than 1.100 years away. When the Burmans arrived tattooing did already play an important role in the cultures of many different ethnicities that make up the population of what is nowadays Burma (since 1989 also called Myanmar). And, by the by, the Mon a once very powerful people with their mighty kingdoms in what is now south Burma and Thailand were also tattooing cultures long before the appearance of the first Burman. Keep in mind that at the times we are talking about neither Burma nor Thailand existed. What existed were the Mon kingdoms, the Pyu kingdoms and the Shan kingdoms.

History of Burma or Burmese Tattoos

The independent country Burma is only 68 years old (Myanmar as it is also called since 1989 only 27 years) thus Burma/Myanmar is a very young country and in the light of this, it is not correct to speak of Burmese tattoos, let alone ancient Burmese tattoos or Burmese culture. What existed prior to 1948 (the year British Colonial Burma was granted independence from the British) was British Colonial Burma and before that several kingdoms such as the Mon kingdoms, the Pyu kingdoms, the Arakan kingdoms, Shan kingdoms, and several smaller and larger Bamar kingdoms. But for the sake of a better understanding, I will continue calling it ‘Burmese culture’ and ‘Burmese tattoos’.

So let’s go back to our topic ‘Burmese Tattoos’. Prior to the answering of the question what exactly it is that makes so-called ‘Burmese Tattoos’ being ‘Burmese Tattoos’. The answer to this is: ‘beyond the fact that they are made in Burma and that some tattoos include or are confined to Burmese writing frighteningly little’. In other words, there is almost nothing typically Burmese about them. You may now say, ‘what, almost every Burmese is tattooed what goes especially for the males and there is no ‘Burmese tattoo?’ My answer is yes, there are many tattoos in Burma and if you find it OK to inadmissible generalise things to the point of indiscriminately saying that everything in Burma with respect to tattoos and otherwise is Burmese then you can – although it is not correct – speak of ‘Burmese Tattoos’. However, I suggest you pay close attention to the historical facts I have mentioned at the beginning as well as in the next Part 5. [End of Part 4, continued in Part 5]

All of my books are available as Kindle eBooks on Amazon.

For more information visit my website http://www.realburmabyburman.com and my Mark Burman YouTube channel  http://www.youtube.com/user/BurmaByMarkBurman.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Markus_Burman/2114042


Guest Author, MarkusGuest Author @ TangyTalk: I am Markus Burman and am living since more than 25 years in Burma, since 1989 called Myanmar. I know the country, its people, culture and history very well what makes an authority on the subject of Burma/Myanmar. Born, educated and trained in Germany I have spent more than half of my professional life outside Germany. In 2012 I retired and turned full-time writer. Since then I divide my time between my family (wife, daughter, son in law and grandson) and my work as writer, which includes quite some travelling, researching and, yes, lots of writing.

I am writing exclusively on Burma and in my book series ‘This Is the Real Burma’ I have so far written and published four books in eBook format available on Amazon.


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