Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Categories: Culture | Nations

High in the mountains of Myanmar, the Chin people live, whose women are still forced to wear the ugly scars of ancient barbaric traditions on their faces. The faces of 12-14-year-old girls of the tribe were covered with tattoos, the process of applying which was very painful and took several days.

According to legend, the tradition of disfiguring girls was born in ancient times, when the elders were afraid that the young maidens would be kidnapped by the king and make them concubines.

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

The custom was observed until the 1960s, when the government intervened and banned it. However, the older women of the tribe are a clear example of past beliefs and are forced to live with their scars. They also wear huge earrings that strongly pull the skin.

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Photographer Te Han Lin shot the report during his recent trip to Myanmar. "While I was planning a trip to Myanmar, I was studying the tribes of the country and came across the Chin people."

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Experts have expressed many theories about the origin of tattoos on the face and the purpose of their application. One of the most plausible was that the women were mutilated intentionally, thus scaring off the kidnappers. This tradition later became an important practice in the culture of the Chin people.

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Up until the 1960s, tribal girls aged 12-14 were subjected to this painful procedure. But thanks to the intervention of the Myanmar government, the cruel custom began to gradually die out.

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Skeletons of animals hunted.

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Photographer Te Khan said: "The people of the tribe reacted differently to the ban: some were happy with it, others were against it. Moreover, those who were against it still observe this tradition."

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Today, in a village lost in the mountains, only older women wear tattoos, the younger generation considers them a relic of the past.

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

The boys of the tribe are dressed in Western style — a sure sign of the changes that have taken place in the culture of the people.

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

The people of the tribe told the photographer how complex drawings were applied with the help of antediluvian tools. "Ink is made from a mixture of bovine bile, plants and animal fat. The process itself is very painful, especially in the delicate area of the eyelids, and takes on average from one to two days, depending on the complexity of the applied pattern. The face heals for at least two weeks."

Girls of the Chin people get disfiguring tattoos on their faces so that they are not kidnapped

Inside the Chin family home.

Keywords: Women | Myanmar | Customs | Traditions | Photographer

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