Burmese Tattoos (Part 7)

Facial Tattoos. This is the Part 7 of Burmese Tattoos article by Guest Author

Burmese Tattoos – Part 1

Burmese Tattoos – Part 2

Burmese Tattoos – Part 3

Burmese Tattoos – Part 4

Burmese Tattoos – Part 5

Burmese Tattoos – Part 6

Burmese Tattoos – Part 7

Facial Tattoos

Facial tattoos have their origin in China where these tattoos were very famous amongst the Derung, Li and Dai Tribe women and have a very long tradition. In Burma, it is the Chin tribes that are famous for facial tattoos although not all of them share this millennia-old tradition.

The women of the Chin tribe learn from a young age on the art of making facial tattoos and only the women were/are allowed to tattoo and be tattooed. Especially for non-Asians, facial tattoos are certainly something that needs getting used to because it is not exactly what they call beautiful. So, when facial tattoos are not beauty enhancing why do Chin women tattoo their faces? If you ask Chin women this question or if you look for answers to this in publications you will get or find several answers. Here are the most common; make your pick.

  • a) To disguise their beauty in order to prevent being kidnapped by the king and made one of his many consorts.
  • b) To prevent being kidnapped by slave traders and sold.
  • c) To prevent being raped by enemy soldiers.
  • d) As a protection against demons.
  • e) As a sign to be mature and ready for marriage.
  • f) As beautification.
  • g) As a sign of tribal identity.
  • h) To gain access to heaven after death.

Personally, I believe the reason for the Chin women having facial (and neck) tattoos is a mixture of all or most of the above mentioned explanations.

What concerns the facial tattoo designs each tribe has a different one. Some comprise of several geometric shapes, some of vertical lines and dots, some of the spider nets, some of butterflies and bees, etc.

The ink used for these tattoos is black. Getting a facial tattoo means to expose oneself to extreme physical pain. The process that usually starts with a tattoo on the forehead, continuous with the eyebrows, eyelids, the space between the eyes, cheeks, chin and often additionally the neck as neck tattoo is briefly described in the following.

First, the design is drawn on the skin. Then with a small stick dipped in ink the almost paste-like tattoo ink is drawn on the skin. Next an about 2 inch/5 cm long lime thorn with a needle-sharp tip either inserted into the tip of a bamboo stick or simply used by holding it firmly between thumb and index finger the skin under the ink is with rapid up and down movements similar to movement of a sewing machine needle perforated what at the same time injects the ink into the skin. Finally, the ink is carefully rubbed deeper into the skin. The most painful parts of the tattoo are on the eyebrows and eyelids.

How long it takes to complete a facial tattoo depends as always on the pain tolerance of the tattooed person. Completing a full face tattoo can take more than 1 year.

This article (published here in 7-parts) is an abridged version of a chapter of my next book ‘This Is The Real Burma-An Insider Is Writing About Burma And The Life In It 1’.

I have so far written and published five richly illustrated books on Burma. In my books, I am writing extensively and detailed about the country, its people, culture, history and the life in it. The book titles are: ‘This Is The Real Burma – An Insider Is Writing About Burma And The Life In It’, ‘This Is The Real Burma – British Colonial Rangoon’, ‘This Is The Real Burma – Pagan/Bagan’ and ‘This Is The Real Burma – Shwedagon Pagoda’ and ‘Authentic Burmese Dishes – Cooking With Markus’. My next book will have the title ‘This Is The Real Burma – An Insider Is Writing About Burma And The Life In It 1’. It will be published by the end of 2016/beginning of 2017. [End of Part 7, Concluded]

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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